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George Ibrahim: Theatre artist
submitted by This Week In Palestine

36 years of work in the
Palestinian theatre

Born in Ramleh in 1945, George Ibrahim is an artist who works in the theatre with great gusto. Irrespective of what some may say, everyone agrees that he has played - and continues to play - a significant role in the development of the Palestinian theatre movement.

Ibrahim is well known as one of Palestine’s pioneer artists. In 1967 he founded his first theatrical group, the Dramatic Arts Group, in Jerusalem. He acted as general director and artistic director of the group from 1970 to 1986. In 1986 he founded Al-Kasaba Theatre in Jerusalem. Due to his great concern and involvement in the theatre movement, Ibrahim was the first artist elected as the president of the Palestinian Actors’ League from 1989 to 1993, and from 1999 to 2005.

Acting as playwright, director, producer, and actor, Ibrahim was involved in the staging of 56 plays. He also wrote and adapted 48 plays such as Little Red Ridding Hood, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Ala’a Eddin and the Magic Lamp, Cinderella, The Empire 's Cloth, Ramzi Abu Al-Majd, Bab Al-Shams, The Fire Raisers, The Angel Landed in Babel, Al-Zeir Salem, Smile You Are Palestinian, and Blood Weeding. And he directed 23 plays including The Happy Shoemaker, My Grandfather Isn’t An Old Man, The Adventures of Khadra, Cinderella, The Noisy House, Caligula, and The Wall, in addition to a variety of cultural events and programmes.

Ibrahim is the founder and presently the general director of Al-Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque in Ramallah which was established in 2000 on the ruins of one of Ramallah’s three movie houses. The Theatre quickly became a symbol of art and creativity and one of the most important cultural centres in Palestine. In addition to the daily screening of films, including up-to-date international box-office hits, the centre stages plays, music and dance shows and cultural activities of all sorts.

A few years ago Ibrahim was also heavily involved in acting, spending a considerable amount of his time on the stage. Among the plays he acted in are The Immigrants, The Clown, Death and the Maiden, and Caligula. He also starred in drama series and numerous TV programmes, including the popular children’s programme Sami and Sousou that aired on the Arabic section of Israel TV in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Ibrahim has worked on several films. He was a producer in Rana’s Wedding, and had roles in Divine Intervention, Ticket to Jerusalem, and Haifa.

Together with his company, ibrahim toured various Arab and European countries to represent Palestine there, such as Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and Poland in addition to several American states.

Ibrahim believes that the works that represent Palestine in international festivals must be measured on their artistic value and merit and not for the sake of solidarity with the Palestinians. In fact, several plays have won prizes for best actor, best costume design, best directing, and best production, such as Stories Under Occupation that won first prize at the Cairo Festival in 2001 and The Immigrant that won the prize for best director and best costume design at the Cartage International Theatre Festival in 1999.

Ibrahim himself was awarded the Palestinian National Award for Theatre in 1998 for his role in developing the Palestinian theatre. In spite of all his accomplishments, George Ibrahim still dreams to establish a drama school in Palestine.

This Week in Palestine
February 2007

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