A bitter sweet, dark political comedy based on one man's true story and his odyssey in search for identity.
Based on Ahmed Tobasi's personal coming of age story, AND HERE I AM is an epic voyage of identity and self-discovery. Combining fact and fantasy, tragedy and comedy, spanning both the first Palestinian intifada and the second, we follow the protagonist through his transformation from resistance fighter to artist, his journey as a refugee from the West Bank to Norway and then back again.
In a series of tragicomic episodes vividly brought to life with music, dance and animation, we journey through this personal and political tale of occupation and resistance, fear and heroism, a life of self-pursuit and loyalty that transports us to the heart of the hardships, struggles and contradictions of a young man growing up under occupation and his pursuit for the true meaning of freedom.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
AND HERE I AM is a brand new theatrical production, to be performed alongside a wide-reaching education and outreach programme, created by a collective of experienced theatre practitioners working under the international arts charity, Developing Artists. The production will be performed in both Arabic and English.
And Here I Am creates a unique opportunity for Ahmed Tobasi to build work that responds to his life experiences, and the wider experiences of society both in Palestine and within the Arab refugee community in Europe, and in doing so reflect, explore and interrogate his own personal narrative and that of his community.
Working alongside a creative team that includes award-winning writer Hassan Abdulrazzak, this powerful and unique piece of theatre will raise awareness of some of the key advocacy issues facing Palestine's new generation, giving voice to one of the world's most marginalised community's.
This project will incorporate Tobasi's practices as a professional actor and theatre-maker, together with his skills as a youth mentor and community leader. The project aims not only to give voice to an individual but to explore a narrative that is relevant to many and begin to articulate, and so process, a collective trauma whilst empowering, re-imagining and inspiring. This is the voice of an ordinary man whose life was turned upside down again and again, exploring how he finally managed to take control of his future and create a positive impact.
A key aim of the project is to inform and educate the UK and international community about the harsh realities and limited opportunities facing young people in Palestine, and also, crucially, to develop their understanding of the realities of life as a refugee. The project will be a life-changing opportunity for Ahmed Tobasi, and is part of Developing Artists long-term commitment to broaden and deepen skillsets and opportunities within the Palestinian community in Jenin Refugee Camp as a sustainable legacy.
And Here I Am will rehearse in Palestine in June 2017, before premiering at the Shubbak Festival in the UK at the start of July. This project will be delivered in five stages:
1. PALESTINIAN & NORWEGIAN WORKSHOPS
In December 2016 writer Hassan Abdulrazzak and director Zoe Lafferty will travel to Palestine to begin workshopping the script with Ahmed Tobasi. At the same time, Tobasi will begin a series of drama workshops with the children of Jenin Refugee Camp, and also within the refugee community in Norway. These will run on a regular basis throughout the project.
2. PALESTINIAN REHEARSALS
The main rehearsal period will start in Palestine in May 2017 and run for 4 weeks.
3. UK PREMIERE & TOUR
Tobasi will then travel to the UK for one final week of rehearsals before the production premieres in London as part of the Shubbak Festival on the 4th July 2017. Following a one week run in London, the production will then play at The Lowry Theatre (Manchester), before a series of performances in Liverpool as part of The Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. We will then tour the production around the UK for a further month.
In September 2017 the production will then begin a tour of Palestine, with an extended education programme running alongside the production.
5. NORWAY, EUROPE & BEYOND
In October 2017 we aim to take the production to Norway as the first stage of a planned international tour.
For further information on the project please email email@example.com