March 21 – April 1 2016
The fifth annual Freedom Ride took place from March 21-April 1 2016 in the West Bank, occupied Palestine. Activists, scholars and artists from around the world gathered with the team and the actors of the Freedom Theatre to travel to some of the key areas of oppression and resistance. The tour started in Jenin refugee camp and continued to communities in the Jordan Valley, then to Nabi Saleh, Bethlehem (Aida Camp, Al-Azzeh Camp and Dheishe Camp), Hebron and to Bedouin communities in the South Hebron Hills. The photo shows the Freedom Bus in the Bedouin village of Umm Al-Khair, right besides the Israeli settlement of Carmel.
Central to the visits was the exchange between the group and the local people through storytelling and interactive theatre. A great part of the Freedom Ride agenda also included talks by activists and scholars, presentations by local institutions and organisations active in cultural resistance, visits to refugee camps, cultural events and activities with children.
A great enrichment was the participation of the Delhi-based street theatre group Jana Natya Manch. Together with the Freedom Theatre actors and actresses, Jana Natya Manch met for a three-months collaboration in India from November 2015 – January 2016, the “Freedom Jatha”. They developped a unique theatre production about cultural resistance and freedom in both India and Palestine, which then toured both countries.
The 2016 Freedom Ride was part of the ten-year anniversary of the Freedom Theatre. It was followed by the six-day Theatre Festival and Cultural Resistance Forum in Jenin refugee camp, where friends of the theatre from Palestine and around the world met for workshops, performances, discussions, film schreenings, networking and much more.
Find stories from all places visited during the Freedom Ride 2016 on the Freedom Bus blog.
During the Freedom Ride 2016, the TV channel Arte reports about the special form of Playback theatre: