War and Peace in Gaza and London,’ Coming in September

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Gaza-based Theatre for Everybody and London-based Az Theatre are co-creating and co-producing “War and Peace in Gaza and London,” set for a Rich Mix debut at 4 p.m. on September 14:

According to Az Theatre’s Jonathan Chadwick, the productions — which are being led by Gaza’s Theatre for Everybody — have been in the works for some time. The production is meant to be the culmination of two weeks of workshops held in Gaza’s French Cultural Centre, in addition to a showcase of short works by Hassan Abdulrazzak, Caryl Churchill, Ahmed Masoud, and Haifa Zangana that respond to Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

“Of course we don’t know whether the workshop there will now be possible,” Chadwick wrote in an email, “but we will continue with our event and make a live internet link with our colleagues in Gaza.”

“War and Peace: Gaza-London” is the latest phase of the Gaza Drama Long Term project, which began in 2009.

Chadwick explained that “Theatre for Everybody have selected the scenes they will work on initially.  We agreed that filming the work on those scenes and sending the video would obviate the volatilities of skype/online communications.  We will stage readings of these scenes in English.”

In a recent open letter to his colleagues in Gaza, Chadwick noted the obstacles to this staging:

We know that there will be enormous difficulties in bringing together the company of creative artists for the two-week workshop leading up to our joint events in Gaza and London on Sunday 14th September.  I think we have now raised enough money to make this work financially possible but is it humanly possible and is it still desirable and necessary?

Chadwick ends the letter by saying, “I should say, if it is not clear from what I have said above, that I am really keen to continue our work on War and Peace.”

The scenes are set to be read by a company of veteran actors including David Calder, Jennie Stoller, andHarriet Walter. There will also be visual art and music from Arts Canteen.

You can follow more about the project on Az Theatre’s blog:

On the blog, Theatre for Everybody directors Hossam Madhoun and Jamal Al Rozzi have been sharing what’s going on with their project under bombardment. From a recent post, written by Hossam Madhoun:

I was planning to reply tomorrow as I said in the SMS I sent you earlier tonight, as I am really tired and need to sleep but how can anyone in Gaza sleep with this noise above our heads? The drones?  Do you know what this is? Planes without pilots flying by remote control! The noise they make drives us crazy!

Let me tell you what it is like. Imagine an old noisy washing machine operating just beside your bed or a fly getting inside your ear and trying to get out or sleeping beside your car while the engine is on all the time! Can you sleep however tired you are?
I will answer: yes, you sleep exactly the same way a very sick man falls unconscious, this is how we sleep in Gaza. So instead, I decided to write to you, my dear, until I fall unconscious.

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