Costumes and props stored backstage in the dressing room during the tech rehearsal for ASHTAR Theatre’s Peer Gynt at the Ramallah Municipality Theatre in July, 2018. Photo: Ashley Marinaccio.
Articles, Volume 9

Peer Gynt in Palestine

Peer Gynt in Palestine
By Ashley Marinaccio
Arab Stages, Volume 9 (Fall, 2018) 
©2018 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications

Ibsen’s 19th century Norwegian play Peer Gynt has been reimagined in a new light thanks to the youth of Palestine at the ASHTAR Theatre who debuted a new adaptation of the classic fairy tale in the 2018 ASHTAR Youth International Theatre Festival this past July. The students of ASHTAR put their own spin on Peer Gynt, placing him in the same fantasy as the original text but adding contemporary dance, movement and music that makes their production uniquely Palestinian.

Located near the city center of Ramallah in central Palestine, ASHTAR Theatre was founded by Iman Aoun and Edward Muallem in 1991 and is a five-year educational program and theatre school for young actors with rigorous training in acting techniques, physical theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed. Aoun says, “In 1991 we created the first theatre school in Palestine. There were companies doing some workshops but we wanted to offer training and education to the young people in Palestine.” The theatre’s history is proudly displayed in the hundreds of posters and photographs that collage the walls of ASHTAR’s hallways and offices.

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