Theatre Day Productions

The Program

TDP has set in motion both a youth theatre company and an actors training program.

Three-Year Curriculum in Acting and Drama-Teaching

TDP has designed a 3-Year Curriculum for starting actors and drama-teachers.... that often takes four years to complete!!! Following auditions, a selection is made of some 20 people (these days men and woman). The training is mostly focused on acting, improvising, personal development, physical training, drama techniques. With the exception of the first year, and in a vocational environment, every year the trainees make and tour a play. (See Plays and Touring). This cycle of production, touring, and specialized training is the main framework of the curriculum. Extra courses by guest teachers are added goodies. To date, TDP has 35 graduates, all working in the profession.

Youth Plays

The choice of themes for the theatre plays produced by TDP are derived from the daily life of Palestinian children. They are themes relevant to the community or are based on (or inspired by) contemporary or traditional sources of Palestinian or Arab cultural heritage or literature. TDP creates original plays. To date over 20 original texts have been written inspired by the Palestinian reality of the young people who live here. Plays made in Gaza (where desert meets the sea) are clearly different from those made in the West Bank (where mountains meet the sky). These plays often start from what's on our minds and what's in the air. Themes come easily because we live in a society so full of bizarre and often unbearable problems. TDP also works from existing texts. We look to some of the great writers and poets from the past and present. There are few fabulous theatre texts in the Arab world where there is no tradition of theatre but writers such as Ghassan Kanafani have inspired us to create plays for a youth audience.

Touring of Plays

Plays are performed for youth audiences, usually in schools. Touring is organized with and in coordination with the education systems working in the country (the PA Ministry of Education or the UN Refugee Agency Education Department). We reach equal numbers of boys and girls schools. We perform for audiences of a maximum of 200 children to allow for good concentration and good viewing. Children are brought back and forth from their schools to the performance hall in an organized system of buses (unless the school is within acceptable walking distance from the performance venue). Each student receives a program booklet after each performance that contains information about the organization, the play, the team, and which often includes educational material. There are 250 performances each year.

Before or After the Show Workshops

Every performance is preceded and/or followed by a drama-workshop between the actors and the students. These workshops are a platform for the students to freely and individually express their fantasies, opinions, and understandings about the content and presentation of the play. Each workshop varies in theme but is similar in method. There is a question and answer part. This is followed by some theatre games that can be done from the seats in the audience. The third part is about theme and context. It involves getting interested students onto the stage for improvisations with the actors and with each other. Each workshop lasts between 20-60 minutes depending on the situation at hand.

Workshops in Free Expression

These workshops are for youth and are made to give the participants a chance to work in-depth on the creation and presentation of their ideas, fantasies, joys, fears, hopes, and dreams. At present, TDP runs two workshop programs: Drama Workshops & Video-Animation Workshops.

Drama Workshops - Drama Workshops are given to groups of 15-20 young people at a time, ages 9-12 or 13-16. These workshops are 18 sessions of 3 hours each and take place over 6 consecutive days for 3 consecutive weeks. This gives children time for concentration, commitment, and the development of their ideas. No two workshops are ever the same as the theme of each workshop comes from what is on the minds of the participating children. At the end of each workshop, a public presentation is given for family members, friends, and the school from which the children come.

Video-Animation Workshops - These workshops allow groups of school children to make simple video-cartoons based on their own stories and fantasies. The work stimulates the free flow of the children's fantasy. It also stimulates mutual cooperation as the kids must work together in small groups to produce their cartoons Children are in charge of the complete production process of their cartoon, from story-board design to filming, voice-over, and presentation. Animation workshops are carried out in 3-week rounds of 6 consecutive days per week, 3 hours a day. Each week brings 20-24 children, age 11-15 to the animation experience.

Drama & Animation Festivals

Each year, a series of workshops takes place in a specific region (ie: refugee camp, village, small city). This small region starts buzzing with activity as the festival is set up with where everyone has a chance to be involved: parents, teachers, shop-keepers, friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends. Usually, 8 different drama workshops are presented at the same time, along with 12 made-by-kids cartoons. The presentations take place over two days in a festival atmosphere of kids, flowers, cakes, presents, and lots of fun and laughter.

Plays With Kids For Kids (TDP Theatre Club)

Kids for Kids is an up-scale version of the Drama Workshop made to result in a theatre play made by kids that will tour for kids in school. The program also gives TDP actors/drama-teachers new opportunities to work as youth theatre directors. Kids who complete the production and tour become members of TDP's Theatre Club (over 300 kids to date). As such, they are invited to all open rehearsals and opening performances in their region. They are also called upon when TDP needs consultants for up-to-date information about kids in Palestine. These young people are informed that once they graduate high-school they are eligible to join TDP's 3-year curriculum. The program of Kids for Kids begins with a one-month drama workshop. During this workshop, individuals decide for themselves to continue with the full production. There are 6 additional weeks of rehearsals. A tour of at least 10 performances for different schools takes place over two weeks.

Drama Awareness Campaigns & Teachers Workshops

TDP offers special workshops to school teachers in how to use story-telling and drama as an educational tool. TDP has published both a manual and a set of exercise cards on this subject both of which are the basis of the workshop. The workshop is for school teachers of any grades and any disciplines. Workshops - and the selection of teachers - are organized in cooperation with education systems. TDP also organizes special campaigns for senior staff, education administrators, supervisors, and national or regional department heads within the education ministry with the aim of advocating theatre and drama as an important part of school life.

Advanced Training & International Exchange

For TDP trainees and graduates and staff alike, guest teachers from Palestine or from abroad are invited to give workshops in special fields connected to youth theatre and drama education. In certain cases, trainees or graduates are invited to go abroad for these workshops. Some of the courses are directing, writing, voice, photography, advanced animation, and movement. Personal development and relief are also part of this project and are for all TDP staff.

1-Year Curriculum for Drama Teachers

In 2008, TDP developed a 1-year curriculum for men and women who want to want to work with kids and drama but who do not want to become performers. Although acting is part of this curriculum, the training is focused on the process of working with children rather than performances.

Storytelling

In 2013 TDP added a new curriculum aspect to the program. Story-telling came about as quite naturally in talkative Gaza with it's almost 2 million people and in an open air jail. Every day the stories pile up and they cover a rage of subjects from the political to the personal and include tales of love and tales of the opposite. Everyone has a story to tell. We discovered that our best point of departure would be with a group of women. TDP sees the role of women as the "glue" to family life, to childrenm, to home, and in many cases, to the work force. Originally, 5 women were trained, and they trained 5 each. The first play was 24 women with interweaving stories collected from 4 generations of ladies (grandmotherss, mothers, unmarried young women, children). Now storytelling is steady fixture with storytelling events. For now, it is a woman's program. That should change.

© 2019 | Theatre Day Productions | Gaza | West Bank | Jerusalem