Al Harah Theater has been offering customized training programs and workshops on long and short-term basis to youth and especially women using drama and theater as a tool. These trainings have been used to create awareness among young people and their communities and also empower them in many ways. The trainings have also targeted children and youth with special needs and also rehabilitation workers who work with them on daily basis.
Why drama and theater?
Drama is an important means of stimulating creativity in problem solving. It can challenge young people' perceptions about their world and about themselves. Dramatic exploration can provide youth and young people with an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and dreams that they might not otherwise have means to express.
Drama develops young people self-esteem and confidence through the different exercises and activities of theater and drama.
Drama allows youth to communicate with and understand others in new ways. Perhaps more than any other art form, drama also provides training in the very practical aspects of communication so necessary in today's increasingly information-centered world. It encourages young people and youth to speak in public without difficulty. It can help them in being more persuasive in their communications, both written and oral, will be better able to put themselves into others' shoes and relate to them, and will have a more positive, confident self image. Participation in Dramatic activity requires self control and discipline that will serve the young people well in all aspects of life. Drama can help youth including trainers to work together, to cooperate, and to find the best way for each member of a group to contribute, and to listen to and accept the viewpoints and contributions of others. No art form is more truly collaborative. Drama is an important tool for preparing young people to live and work in a world that is increasingly team-oriented rather than hierarchical.
Drama also helps youth to develop TOLERANCE and EMPATHY towards each other and to others.
Drama is often about collaboration and negotiation, and when it is used in mixed-ability groups it can act as a bridge between youth with special needs and others in their peer group. It can enable young people with particular difficulties, and provides an ideal environment to encourage young people to work together and to develop trust and friendships.
Non- classroom environment, group or pair work, performance, touch, open space, dialogues and self-expression can all present challenges.
Another important function of drama for young people with special needs is in fostering the twin aims of self-expression and confidence-building; these are important tools in literacy-building, and a confident student is more likely to learn well and enjoy learning in general. Drama provides an opportunity to let off energy within the boundaries of the class itself.
Over the last 13 years Al Harah have worked with BASR, Action Aid, World Vision, Arij, YMCA, CBR and many other local and international civil society organizations in three ways:
- To create productions that address issues related to research conducted by these organizations. Then tour with these productions in marginalized communities with post performance workshops to create more impact on the audiences.
- To create training programs for children, youth and women in different areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem that utilizes drama and theater as a tool to achieve the impact needed on the target groups; empowerment, building self-esteem, solving internal conflicts, developing skills and characters, creating awareness…etc.
- Train of Trainers for social workers, rehabilitation workers, women volunteers, youth leadership, and cultural leadership.
Several productions were created in collaboration with civil society organisations on different topics and themes they worked on. Some of these plays were performed tens of times in different marginalized areas some of which are:
- "WHY?" in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and UNFPA
- "The Well" in cooperation with Action Aid
- "Abu Saleem" in cooperation with Bethlehem Development Foundation
- "Womb" in cooperation with Bir Zeit Public Health Research Center
- "The Trap" in cooperation with DCI
- "People from Paper" in cooperation with BASR