Capacity building, training and train of Trainers:
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
- Drama & Theater Training Program for Children and Youth
The program consists of four gradual stages, each lasting 3 months, one session per week. The training is held by specialized drama and theater trainers.
This program aims for:
- Introducing children and youth to drama and theater work
- Enabling children and youth to use their creativity to solve problems
- Empowering their self-confidence and changing their negative perspectives on themselves and those around them
- Providing a free space to express the feelings, thoughts and dreams which they can’t express in another way
- Promoting positive values such as respect and accepting the other
- Training new professionals:
This program aims to create young actors wishing to establish new theater groups in their communities.
- Training of Sound and Light Techniques:
Throughout the year, Al-Harah Theater hosts various local and international trainers in different theatrical fields to train Al-Harah Theater team and its trainee groups, as a form of capacity building to improve the knowledge and skills of the workers in Al-Harah Theater and in other Palestinian theaters generally.
- Drama & Theater Training Program for professional workers:
This training is intended for professional workers like social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, and special education teachers. It aims to give them different new tools like dramatic games to use in their work and achieve therapy goals with their patients.
- Train the Trainers Program in Drama & Theater
The program aims to:
- Create new trainers in the field of drama & theater especially in the north and south of Palestine.
- Give the opportunity for more children and youth to participate in drama training.
- Al-Harah Theater follows the trainers during the program period to help them to form groups of children & youth in their organizations in other cities and give them the necessary instructions.
In 2011, Al-Harah Theater hosted many international trainers and organised different workshops in specific fields in the performing arts:
- Interactive theater workshop with a British artist
- Clown workshop with two British artists.
- Drama training workshop for rehabilitation workers in the Arab Rehabilitation Society
- Movement techniques workshop with a Swedish artist
- Alexander technique workshop with a French artist
- Drama training with an Italian artist
- Playwriting workshop
- Sound and 3D scenography workshop with an Italian artist
- Eastern Belly dancing workshop with a Swiss artist
‘Gaza Monologues’ is a part of a solidarity project with the besieged Gaza Strip, which resulted in producing various theatre performances in different languages over the world. This project was organized by Ashtar Theater, in cooperation with AL-HARAH Theater, Phoenix Center in Dheisheh refugee camp, and other theaters in Palestine, Arab countries and the world.
On the level of drama and theater training, AL-HARAH Theater trained different groups of children and youth. A group of 11 children, continuous training for AL-HARAH young trainees (AL-HARAH Gangs 1, 2 and 3) which contain 30 trainees.
Also, AL-HARAH trained many groups in cooperation with other organizations, like: a teenagers group for the Phoenix Centre in Dheisheh Camp, a group of 13 kids for the International Relief in Beit Jala. A group of 50 children for the summer camp in Bethlehem University, a group of 10 children for The Women’s Society for Child’s Care in Beit Jala.
On the other hand, AL-HARAH Theater organized different workshops with international trainers like:
- A workshop in movement and acting with a German coach.
- A workshop in ‘Contact Improvisation’ with a Swedish coach.
- A music workshop which focuses on improving the relationship between the child and his parents with an Italian musician.
- A workshop in ‘The Theater of the Oppressed’ and ‘Forum Theater’ with an Italian director.
- A workshop in scenography design using the computer with an Italian technician and set designer.
Al-Harah Theater organized training programs with the following organizations:
- Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
- Handala Center, Al-Azza Camp
- Salwan Children Cultural Center
- Bethlehem University
- Phoenix Center, Dheisheh Camp
- International Relief, Beit Jala
- Arab Rehabilitation Society
In addition, Al-Harah Theater organized some workshops with foreign trainers:
- ‘Contact Improvisation’ dance workshop with Swedish Trainer Beno
- Music workshop with Italian trainer Andrias
- Acting workshop titled ‘De Fence’ with Greek director Marilie
2007 – 2008:
Al-Harah Theater implemented train the trainers programs for a variety of artistic and cultural centers in the West Bank. The program included four intensive workshops during the year. The program was organized in Beit Jala by the following trainers:
- Mohammed Awwad; Actor, director and coach
- Nicola Zreineh; Actor, coach
- Raeda Ghazaleh; Actor, director
Al-Harah trained 14 youth trainers from different organizations, who were committed to train other children and youth groups in their areas.
Al-Harah Theater trainees in Phoenix Center, Dheisheh Camp produced a play called ‘Key and Life’. The play was directed by Mohammed Awwad and Sami Metwasi and gained the special Jury award in the sixth Philadelphia Festival in Jordan 2006.