Throughout the year, The Palestinian National Theatre – El Hakawati – designs and executes tens of trainings and workshops for its local community in Jerusalem and Palestine. The El Hakawati runs those workshops as it believes in the power of drama, not just as a source of entertainment, but also as a tool to elevate the Palestinian people’s cultural and intellectual level, and to enhance the role drama had as it carried the Palestinian people’s cause, humanitarian and national identity, and presented them with utter bravery and transparency to the world for decades, appointing itself as a solidarity, communication and dialogue method between the Palestinian people and other international communities, especially oppressed ones.
The Palestinian National Theatre – El Hakwati – presents these workshops and artistic trainings in the field of theatre production through its administrative and technical staff, whether inside the halls of El Hakawati, or in other places in Jerusalem and its suburbs, by cooperating with many institutions, artistic groups, artists, and theatre groups.
The workshops vary to target a wide variety of amateur and professional actors, male and female teachers of schools, kindergartens, and even nurseries, in addition to any person interested in becoming a drama teacher.
The theatre holds more than 5 fundamental workshops at its premises in Jerusalem, which all conclude by presenting a theatre play inside and outside the walls of El Hakawati, reaching all the way to the marginalized areas in Jerusalem and Palestine. The plays usually include 10 children plays per month, and 10 other plays around the year. In addition to the above, the theatre makes sure it organizes different activities, musical festivals, and graduation parties for school students.
Workshops Pre-Post Shows for Students
These workshops are held either before or after a theatre show that is presented by theatre members to students, and ranges between 20-60 minutes, joining both parties as key participants. These workshops are considered a platform for students to express their opinions and thoughts freely in regard to the theme of the play. Those workshops differ from show to another, but still resemble in method, which usually consists of 3 major parts: First, questions and answers, second, theatre games that audience participates in from their seats, third, discussing the play and its context, which includes inviting students to the front where they can perform an improvisation with the participating actors.
Workshops in Free Expression
These are a series of workshops that were specifically designed to give the youth an opportunity to form and express their personal opinions, to stimulate their imagination, and share their dreams, fears, and hopes. Those workshops are basically dependent on drama workshops, and animation workshops.
The theatre prepares for and executes specialized drama workshops that target children aged 9-12 years, and youth aged 13-16 years. Each workshop holds around 15-20 participants, and is distributed on 18 meetings, 3 hours each, for six days a week to conclude fully in 3 weeks.
These workshops allow the participants to focus on and experience discipline by participating in an intensive, unremitting activity to produce a short theatrical play at the end of each workshop, to be presented to the families and friends of the participants. Each workshop is unique in signification, as it is shaped to imitate the participants’ inspirations and thoughts, which makes every workshop a special project that carries out special and different results.
Teachers’ Workshops – Drama Awareness Raising Workshops
The theatre specializes unique workshops for school teachers that focus on using storytelling and drama as a teaching method. These workshops target female and male teachers of all teaching levels, and are organized in cooperation with specialized departments of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of culture.
Awareness raising seminars for teaching staffs, school administrators, and department heads are held in shade of these workshops to support and encourage theatre work, and recruit it in school life and Palestinian lifestyle in general.
The greatest achievement of the Teachers’ workshops was the publication of a brochure that encompasses the different activities and trainings of teachers by “Ayyam Al Masrah” partner institution, in order to best recruit it in the educational process for all different groups.
Drama Teachers’ Training – One year Programme
The El Hakawati theatre was able to develop a specialized curriculum to train female and male drama teachers within a year. This programme targets individuals who work in theatre to help them recruit drama in their work with children. The programme focuses on acting, talent, and artistic skills on one side, and on providing the participants with the needed skills, trainings, and tools that are guaranteed to attain best results with children, on the other side, regardless the children’s different needs and backgrounds.
The training guarantees a comprehensive experience for the participants by debating the skills that a child could obtain, and the best methods to achieve them by involving the child as an artist who becomes a part of the theatrical production. This involvement ensures the child affects and is affected by the mutual knowledge, when indulged in the field of drama.
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.