The Palestinian National Theatre has always been an institution that is well united with the local community, and has always ensured that it welcomes the local community on institutional or individual level. Moreover, it has always acted as a contact point between occupied Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian cities, and between Palestine and the rest of the world, providing itself as a bridge that transfers the Palestinian art, literature, and cause to the world, and transfers the world’s solidarity to Palestine.
The halls of the Palestinian National Theatre hold hundreds of activities, seminars, and social workshops of a political, artistic, social, and intellectual print. Through its many contacts and friends, the International Theatre could open the doors wide for the Palestinian artists to exchange expertise with other artists, artistic groups, and artistic institutions from the Arab world and the globe through workshops, seminars, and trainings. The International Theatre, furthermore, invites and hosts theatre teachers from Palestine and the world to run artistic workshops that enroll theatre actors and drama trainers, in addition to inviting trainers and drama graduates to participate in similar workshops (as those mentioned above) outside Palestine, all through its wide network of local and international contacts and supporters.
The Palestinian National Theatre has presented tens of artistic exhibitions and theatre festivals throughout the years of its cultural production, such as the follows:
International Puppet Festival
This festival is considered an annual tradition that started in the 90s and has been held 19 times throughout the previous years. It runs from the beginning of the month of October until the end of the year, attracting the Jerusalemite community in general, and the children community in particular, to enjoy puppet shows.
Ever since the launching of the Puppet Festival, the National Theatre has ensured that the festival holds an international print, where it hosts international groups alongside local groups to enrich the experience of the Palestinian audience, and to give a greater opportunity to the Palestinian puppet groups to meet international similar groups. The oppression imposed on Jerusalem and its institutions, nevertheless, has caused a hardship in financing and coordinating for international groups to participate in this festival.
The Puppet Festival targets a large community segment, basically children aged 3 to 15. Although the festival holds the Puppet Festival name, it, nonetheless, holds different shows, such as cinematic and musical shows, in addition to workshops that specialize in puppet-making.
The Puppet Festival has a special importance among the Jerusalemite and Palestinian audience as it targets children in particular, which makes hundreds of families eagerly wait for its start every year.
Ramallah’s Contemporary Dance Festival – Held by Sareyyet Ramallah
The Contemporary Dance Festival is held yearly in Ramallah. The Palestinian National Theatre hosts a wide number of the shows and presents them on its platform.
Palestine’s Cinematic Festival by Film Lab institution – Palestine
Palestine’s Cinematic Festival is an international festival that runs yearly throughout the lands of Palestine, where the El Hakwati theatre hosts many of its shows and presents them on its theatre.
Al Kamanjaty for Spiritual and Traditional Music
A festival that runs yearly in Palestine. The El Hakwati hosts its shows that are presented in Jerusalem.
Theatrical Days from the Memory of Francois Abu Salem
On October 1st, 2011, Francois Abu Salem decided to take his own life by jumping off his flat in the city of Al Teereh, Ramallah, at 05:00 PM. He left the world a black box similar to the one usually found after an airplane crash, only, this box held the largest archive of the artistic and cultural contemporary movement from 1970 to 2011.
Each time we indulge into the memory of Abu Salem, we are inspired to present a new artistic work that honours the journey of this very devoted artist by presenting a play of his alongside plays from other artists that were schooled by him.
The Palestinian National Theatre – El Hakawati – presents 100 shows with 10,000 audience members yearly. It also presents 120 theatre shows for school students that are attended by 30,000 students, and a minimum of 10 workshops with 150 youth participants, and finally 20 graduation parties and community activities for 6,000 participants.