Saudi Arabia's Trojena to host 2029 Asian Winter Games    IMF Chief: Saudi economy a bright spot amid global crises MoU inked to establish IMF regional office in Riyadh    SFDA wins Prism Award for applying practices to enhance HR leadership skills    Elon Musk under fire for inflammatory Ukraine Twitter comments    North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan    Ukraine tank breakthrough in south toward Kherson    Danish queen 'sorry' after stripping grandchildren's titles    Saudi National Music Band to perform in Paris Friday    Riyadh symposium underscores need to globalize traditional Saudi dish Jareesh    Weather Forecast for Tuesday    Five International Financial Institutions Join the Primary Dealers Program of the Government's Local Debt Instruments    General Commission for Audiovisual Media, Snapchat Launch Family Center    Chairman of Board of Directors of Saudi Esports Federation Highlights the National Gaming and Esports Strategy    12th International Valuation Conference Kicks off with Wide International Participation    KSrelief Distributes 455 Food Baskets in Khartoum State, Sudan    RCU launches Safar art exhibition at AlUla airport    Saudi Arabia retains its seat in ITU Council by international consensus    Qatar Stock Exchange Ends Trading Higher    Saudi Minister of Commerce Heads Delegation to Morocco, Discusses Enhancing Commercial, Investment Relations    Hajj Ministry Stresses Importance of Improving Services for Pilgrims    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Higher at 11,607.96 Points    Sultan Humanitarian City wins platinum award at 2022 Patient Safety Congress in Dubai    Fans 'died in the arms' of players in Indonesia stadium crush    Fans of Sydney United 58 condemned for Nazi salutes during Australia Cup final    Saudi Arabia to host World Petroleum Congress in 2026    King, Crown Prince congratulate German president on Unity Day    Saudi Ministry of Justice: 1.5 Million clients benefit from digital conveyance of title deeds    Tadawul All Share Index Decreases by 0.79%, Equity Market Capitalization Reaches SAR 10,832.85 Billion at End of 1st Nine Months 2022    Asian Shares Mostly Lower    Al-Manea: Selling gold in installments is not permissible    174 dead in Indonesian football stadium crush    15 cups of Saudi coffee in a day are enough!    Riyadh hosts first Saudi Games on Oct. 27    19 women, 2 men qualify as Kingdom's first yogasana referees    Movies return to Kashmir with Hrithik Roshan-starrer    Islamic Minister Al-Sheikh: Juristic judgment catalyst to salvage Islamic Ummah    Culinary Arts Commission Registers 13 Foods on Slow Food List of Endangered Food    72% of Children Globally have been Victims of Cyber Threats    Saudi National Football Team Continues Preparations for Friendly Match against Ecuador    Saudi Futsal Team Beats San Marino, Wins Silver in Croatian International Championship    During 2nd Global AI Summit.. AI-powered Early Breast Cancer Detection Program Launched    Triple talaq: India Muslim women in limbo after instant divorce ruling    Film Commission Reviews Film Industry Prospects in Saudi Arabia at Venice International Film Festival    Saudi national volleyball team loses to Kyrgyzstan in Asian Challenge Cup final    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Delivers Speech to Pilgrims, Citizens, Residents and Muslims around the World    Sheikh Al-Issa in Arafah's Sermon: Allaah Blessed You by Making It Easy for You to Carry out This Obligation. Thus, Ensure Following the Guidance of Your Prophet    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques addresses citizens and all Muslims on the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Legendary London theater hosts ‘Two Plays for Gaza'
By Susannah Tarbush
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 25 - 05 - 2009

The Hackney Empire in East London is one of the British capital's most famous entertainment and music venues. Built in 1901, it has hosted great entertainers from the past such as Charlie Chaplin and Marie Lloyd, as well as leading figures from contemporary music and comedy scenes.
Last Thursday evening the theatre's 1,300 seats were packed full for “Two Plays for Gaza”. The event was a fundraiser for both the Stop the War Campaign and for the Gaza Music School, which was destroyed in the Israeli offensive in Gaza at the turn of the year.
The music school is a project of the A. M. Qattan Foundation, and is co-financed by the Swedish International Development Agency. It was originally launched last July to meet a growing demand for music education from children and parents attending the Qattan Center for the Child in Gaza organization.
The school occupied rented space at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society building in the Tel Al-Hawwa neighborhood of Gaza. Classes began in October, and on Dec. 23 the school held its first public concert.
Just four days later it was damaged by Israeli bombardments, and when Israel invaded the area in mid-January, the building took a direct hit and the school was completely destroyed.
Thanks to campaigns of support around the world, the Qattan Foundation was able to report that some $69,000 had flowed in and that the school reopened in new premises in mid-April. However, more funds are required to rehabilitate and develop a facility which is not only a cultural asset, but which also brings the therapeutic benefits of music in helping children express themselves and overcome trauma. The veteran Labor politician and former cabinet minister Tony Benn introduced the evening. Israel's supporters often try to dismiss criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism, but Benn received sustained applause when he declared, “This idea - that in taking the stand we do we are actually anti-Semitic - is an absolute lie.”
The evening revealed the high degree of support for the Palestinians among artists in Britain. In addition to the direct participation of actors, writers, directors and others in staging the event, there were numerous messages of support on the printed program from the likes of comedian and author Alexei Sayle, political satirist Mark Thomas, writer and documentary maker John Pilger, actors Timothy West, Prunella Scales, Terry Jones and Janet Suzman, and novelists A.L. Kennedy and Iain Banks.
The first play staged during the evening was Caryl Churchill's powerful 10-minute drama “Seven Jewish Children”, which the acclaimed playwright wrote in response to Israel's onslaught on Gaza.
There was an outcry in some quarters when the play was first staged at the Royal Court Theatre in February and the BBC had refused to broadcast it. According to the Guardian newspaper, BBC Radio 4's drama commissioning editor Jeremy Howe said in an e-mail that he and Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer thought the play was a “brilliant piece” but that they had decided, after debating long and hard, “we cannot run with it on the grounds of impartiality”.
The second play was “The Trainer”, by David Wilson and Anne Aylor. The focus of the play is the disaster that befell the English composer Keith Burstein over his opera on the war on terror, “Manifest Destiny”.
In 2005, a reviewer of the opera wrote in London's Evening Standard newspaper that “the idea that there is anything heroic about suicide bombers is, frankly, a grievous insult.” Burstein issued a writ for libel against the newspaper's publisher, Associated Newspapers, on the grounds that the reviewer had portrayed him as glorifying terrorism, thereby laying him open to prosecution under anti-terror legislation. A High Court judge granted Burstein the opportunity to take the case to trial by jury, but the Court of Appeal overturned this decision, in favor of Associated Newspapers.
The publisher's costs of around £70,000 were awarded against Burstein, who was declared bankrupt. Burstein was refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords and the case is currently being taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
“The Trainer” is set in an upmarket gym in the basement of a gentlemen's club where a young Palestinian woman Taghreed (played by Jana Zeineddine) is a fitness trainer. She trains three middle-aged men, played by Corin Redgrave, Paul Herzberg and Roger Lloyd Pack, who turn out to be Appeal Court judges. Taghreed finds a DVD of “Manifest Destiny” in the gym and plays excerpts on a large screen. She is engaged to a British Jew, Josh (David Mildon), who travels to help Palestinians with their olive harvest in the face of attacks from Israeli settlers. “The Trainer” interweaves Taghreed and Josh's story with the storyline of “Manifest Destiny”.
Musical extravaganza
The evening featured a strong Palestinian musical element in the form of a performance by the renowned singer and musician Reem Kelani. She was accompanied by young violinists Noemi Rubio and Laia Serra whom she described as “my two adopted nieces from Catalonia”.
Kelani delivered her performance with characteristic humor and brio. She began with a lively 19th century Palestinian wedding song, complete with stamping and clapping, which exhibited her impressive vocal range. Her second number was a meditative, soulful composition for which the keening violins of the Catalan musicians were a perfect accompaniment. The song came from a Palestinian refugee survivor who lives in Syria. “This woman comes from the Khadra family of Safad. There isn't one Arab left in Safad, but the songs remain.
She is a third generation refugee, and in this song she is begging her eyes not to cry,” remarked Kelani.
Her last song was “Zourouni”, by the legendary Egyptian composer Sheikh Sayyid Darwish. She recalled that in one of his most famous songs he had written, “‘Never tell me that you are a Muslim, Christian or Jew: if your homeland unites you, your religion should never ever divide you'. He said this in 1919, and I think we still need to learn it”.
Another vocal performer was the rapper, poet and political activist Lowkey, born to an Iraqi mother and English father in 1986. He engaged the audience with his rapid-fire rap numbers such as “Long Live Gaza”. “I came back from the West Bank in February and the people there are aware of all the things that the Stop the War Coalition does in this country,” said Lowkey.
“Please continue your support for Stop the War because it is important to let people in Palestine know that we - the British people - have not forgotten them.”

Clic here to read the story from its source.