The Freedom Theatre was founded in 2006 in the Jenin refugee camp by Israeli activist Juliano Mer Khamis and others. Juliano drew inspiration from the “Care and Learning” project setup by his mother, Arna Mer Khamis. The project was to help camp children suffering from chronic anxiety, depression and posttraumatic disturbance due to their experiences during the first intifada. In the course of the project, Arna also opened the Stone Theater. In 2002, during the second intifada, the theatre was destroyed by Israeli troops. Arna’s work is documented in Juliano’s film “Arna’s Children” (2004). Inspired by his mother’s work, Juliano rebuilt the theatre as The Freedom Theatre, where he worked until he was assassinated in 2011.
Together with camp inhabitants, The Freedom Theatre continues Juliano’s work: to nonviolently resist the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories through interactive theatre and cultural activism. The theatre offers a space for children and adolescents to express themselves freely and equally, to imagine new realities, and to break down social and cultural barriers. Through art and theatre, the participants are encouraged and enabled to promote positive change in their community and break up the cultural isolation of the refugee camp. The Freedom Theatre is not only an educational centre offering multimedia courses and a three year training program in acting, over the last several years it has organized an annual Freedom Ride through the West Bank.
“The Theatre School program is not only of a high professional standard, it is a school promoting freedom, unity and struggle against all kinds of oppression.”
– The Freedom Theatre