“All the stories we heard were of violence, of the land and of the occupation and how we oppress each other – like a pyramid with the few and powerful on top, and people on every level toward the bottom are kicking downwards.”
With support from UNESCO Ramallah Office, through the activities of Palestinian Women’s Research and Documentation Centre, PWRDC, funded by the Government of Norway and in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the creative team of Askadinya has held interactive theatre workshops with women in marginalized communities throughout the West Bank. Based on the women’s stories a play was devised, which centers on the issue of gender-based violence.
“Gender-based violence is not only physical violence”, notes Mo’min Switat, a 2011 graduate of The Freedom Theatre School who has spent the last years studying at the London International School for Performing Art (LISPA) and now returns to The Freedom Theatre to work as creator on this production. “It has been on the rise in Palestinian society over the past years, which has raised alarm bells among several Palestinian organisations, including The Freedom Theatre.”
The name Askadinya is a play on words; Askadinya, the loquat fruit, and azka dinya, the tastiest life. The creative team explains where the name comes from: “Throughout our improvisational work on stories, the Askadinya tree accompanied us. It became an important element in the plot of the play that we developed. The name of the play is taken from a true story told by a woman who came to represent both the women that we met in this project and the symbolism of the tree in our culture. It is also a question; what is the most tasty life? To be together, men and women, as equals, or not?”
Askadinya will open at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp on the 5th of November. Read more about the play.

November 5th, at 16:00, The Freedom Theatre – Live streamed
November 6th, at 12:00, The Freedom Theatre – Special performance for women 
November 6th, at 16:30, The Freedom Theatre
November 7th, at 16:00, The Freedom Theatre – Special performance for Sebastia community 
November 8th, at 16:30, Cinema Jenin, Jenin city 
November 9th, at 11:00, The Freedom Theatre – Special performance for Qalqiliya community
November 9th, at 16:00, The Freedom Theatre – Special performance for Tulkarem community
November 20th, at 14:00, The Freedom Theatre
November 28th, at 12:00, Dar al-Kalima College, Bethlehem
November 28th, at 14:00, Dar al-Kalima College, Bethlehem
December 9th, 9.30, Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Al Beireh, Ramallah
Opening of the Conference The Role of Women in Peacebuilding and Reconstruction, organized by UNESCO
Please contact media@thefreedomtheatre.org for interviews and images.

For more information on UNESCO Ramallah office and PWRDC, please see www.unesco.org/ramallah and www.pwrdc.ps.