- Peter Hussey
Upcoming: ASHTAR Festival
The Irish participants of ASHTAR.
From 1st to 7th July, Kildare Youth Theatre will join with young people from Ashtar Theatre, Ramallah,
Palestine to create an online youth theatre festival. The festival is an annual celebration of youth
theatre and brings together young people from the USA, UK, Germany, Spain, Ireland and Palestine.
Irish participants will take part in workshops and discussions with their counterparts in Palestine. In
advance of the event, they have already begun online meetings and workshops. The Irish group is
facilitated by Oğuzhan Şahin, an actor from Turkey and one of Crooked House's European Solidarity Crops volunteers.
The Ashtar Online Youth Theatre Festival was started in 2012 by Iman Aoun and brings together youth
theatres from different countries. During the festival, the participants will have workshops on physical theatre, immersive theatre, theatre of the oppressed and more. These will be delivered by artists from all the participating organisations.
Through this process, participants will better understand various cultural influences, forge links and create connections with international groups and explore how these impact approaches to theatre.
The Irish group of young people, and their artist Oğuzhan, are especially committed to the project in
light of the continued violence in Palestine. Oğuzhan writes that as an actor, he feels "so excited about sharing my experience with young people and collaborating with them". He believes the ASHTAR festival is "truly an amazing opportunity to work together with young people from
different countries and cultures"
The group consciously admire and support their young Palestinian counterparts. Sometimes an online workshop has to end earlier than scheduled because the young Palestinians must try to get to safety. Iman and the Palestinian group expressed their gratitude that there was this link with Crooked House at this time, as it helped the young people emotionally escape, even briefly, from the terrible reality surrounding them. Working with the Palestinian participants raises the question of how we ourselves would feel and act under the same circumstances.
As group leader for Crooked House Theatre Company and a human being, I want to
do something for [the Palestinian participants]. I can share my excitement and work with them. And if I can, even for just a moment, help them focus on something positive and creative, I will be more than happy.
-Irish team leader, Oğuzhan Şahin
The group aims to organise an actual, in-person exchange in 2022 where the two groups of
Irish and Palestinian can come together to create theatre.
In additional events Crooked House's young performance company will be working closely with an older
group of teens in Ashtar's organisation later in the year. They will work on a project called Artivism
which has been funded by the European Union's Erasmus Plus programme.
For further information visit http://www.ashtar-theatre.org/