Day 6: Tear gassing the Theatre – actors and audience under fire

key entranceBy Ruby Hirsch

Yesterday we entered the Aida Refugee Camp, outside of Bethlehem, through a black gate holding  a huge key, symbolising the right of return for the residents of the camp.

Many refugees within the West Bank, who were forcibly displaced during 1948 or 1967, still hold the keys to their former homes in the hope that they will one day reclaim them.

We were told a story by young members of the Freedom Theatre, who are travelling with us on the ride, as we stood in an open air theatre within the camp.

wall & turretAbout a year ago, the Freedom Theatre actors came to the theatre to perform a play for the children in the camp, about a man and his sheep living under the obstacles of occupation.

During the performance, Israeli troops entered the camp and fired tear gas into the theatre. The actors and children ran choking, eyes streaming, but then decided as a group to return and continue the performance, despite and in defiance of the attack.

The actors told us that for this second leg of the performance, the young audience were the most attentive and engaged that they had experienced.

freedom riders

Some of the freedom bus participants in the theatre beside the wall

 

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