The Freedom Theatre

Performing Cultural Resistance in Palestine

Edited by Johanna Wallin, Ola Johansson


LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2018

417 pages

Price INR 650.00
Book Club Price INR 455.00
INR 650.00
In stock

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Maximum 50 characters

The Freedom Theatre is one of the most remarkable institutions in occupied Palestine, and indeed the world. Nestled in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, the theatre has faced attacks, threats, imprisonment of many functionaries, and the assassination of its co-founder. And yet the theatre has not only endured, it has grown, from a provisional hall with rented plastic chairs to one of Palestine's most prominent cultural centres. Today, it educates actors, technicians, cultural workers, photographers, filmmakers and teachers, tours in the West Bank and internationally with its characteristically strong and moving art, and has created a network of partners across the globe.

This book depicts the theatre's history, work, and vision through some of its key people. It gives room to thorough analyses of the context in which it operates and of the concept of Cultural Resistance, which is central to its work. Palestinian and international artists, academics and activists associated with the theatre, contribute personal and professional perspectives on the phenomenon that is The Freedom Theatre.

This is as much a documentation of the work of The Freedom Theatre in its first ten years as it is a testament to its growing significance as a source of inspiration in Palestine and around the world.

Johanna Wallin

Johanna Wallin is a writer, coordinator and communicator who joined The Freedom Theatre in 2008 as a resource developer. For the past six years she has managed The Freedom Theatre’s international communication, including website, social media, press releases, annual reports, publicity materials and publications. Wallin is also involved in strategic management and organisational development as a member of The Freedom Theatre’s executive committee. She has a degree of Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology from Uppsala University, Sweden. She has extensive experience within civil society organisations, among them the Swedish Development Forum and the Palestine Solidarity Association. She has published numerous articles and a book, I will never again walk alone – Palestine in the shadow of occupation (published in Swedish in 2009, Ruin Förlag), and is frequently engaged as a speaker at public seminars and events.

Ola Johansson

Ola Johansson is Associate Professor in Contemporary Performance Practice at the Centre for Research into Creation in the Performing Arts (ResCen), Middlesex University (UK). He has specialized in progressive and applied performance and has published two books: Community Theatre and AIDS (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Performance and Philosophy: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Performing Arts (VDM Verlag, 2008). Ola wrote the concept and manuscript for the production Politico (2014), was the artistic director for the production Beyond Vice (2013) and has exhibited artworks and produced a TV documentary.


[W]ell-documented and provides insights into the everyday world of people living in Palestine . . .

Shikha Ghildyal, Economic & Political Weekly

This attempt to historicize the Palestinian theatre movement and to locate the notion of cultural resistance in the context of contemporary Palestine has necessitated analyses of complex social/political upheavals as well as the strenuous challenges faced by the theatre there.

Abhijit Sen, The Telegraph

Ola Johansson and Johanna Wallin reclaim Mer Khamis' unique legacy and document the company from inception to the present day. Most remarkably, their volume brings to light The Freedom Theatre's deep embeddedness within its local community even while situating it within a comparative international framework. The book captures the radical internationalist consciousness – and broad political relevance – of this quintessentially Palestinian cultural institution.

Rebekah Maggor, Arab Stages