Israel: Police temporarily shut down Palestinian theatre

10 January 2017

Israeli forces posted a notice outside the el-Hakawati Theatre (also known as the Palestinian National Theatre) in Jerusalem stating the theatre would be closed from six o’clock in the evening until midnight on 8 December 2016 to prevent the performance of a musical they claim is linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, reported Gulf Eyes that evening.

Dozens of theatregoers who came to see ‘Let’s Sing Together’ were turned away by police.

The historic theatre, which acts as a Palestinian culture centre in East Jerusalem, has been suffering from funding shortages as audience numbers drop and operating costs rise, and has often been shut down by Israeli forces in the past.

Theatre director Amer Khalil told Al Jazeera in December 2015 that the theatre has been shut down more than 30 times since its opening in 1977. Khalil also explains that audiences began to diminish after the building of the wall and implementation of checkpoints that prevent Palestinians in the West Bank to come into Jerusalem, effectively shifting Palestinian cultural life from Jerusalem to the city of Ramallah in the West Bank.


» Donia FM – 8 December 2016
Israeli occupation closes el-Hakawati Theatre to prevent musical performance

» Gulf Eyes – 8 December 2016
Israeli occupation forces close el-Hakawati Theatre in Jerusalem to prevent musical performance from being held 

» Al Jazeera – 18 December 2015
Final curtain looms for historic Palestinian theatre

More from Freemuse

» 1 November 2016: Israel: Culture minister and activists call for cancellation of Palestinian rapper’s performance

» 5 September 2016: Israel: Detained Palestinian poet heads to trial over poem

» 3 November 2015: Israel: The political legacy of muzzling artists

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