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Our Diaries Through The Wall

Contributed by This Week In Palestine on 25.02.2006:

This Week in Palestine

December 2005

By the Stars of Bethlehem

Project coordinator: Suzy Atallah

Director: Mohammad Awwad

Assistant: Reem Zaghmout

Cast: Grace Awwad, Randa Sleibi, Wala’a Ghabboun, Mays Nassar, Reem Baboun, Shirine Manneh, Nadine Baboun, Meera Naqawleh, Saja Dweik, Rozene Kara’a

This plays is performed by ten teenage students who “are wise beyond their years and have opened up their mental diaries and present a masterfully rounded portrayal of day to day living in Bethlehem which rings utterly – in places devastatingly – true…. Like their namesake, these Stars of Bethlehem, shine brightly and point the way forward.” (The Scotsman Newspaper, Edinburgh, Scotland, August 16, 2005.)

With these words and more, the well-known newspaper has given the play four stars out of five in its evaluation of international performances held every year by groups from all over the world. The Guardian and the Metro newspapers gave the play three stars and positive reviews were written up about the Palestinian teenagers from Bethlehem.

The stories are taken from the book published by the Terra Sancta School for Girls/Sisters of Saint Joseph in Bethlehem in 2004, that compiles the students’ personal diaries and experiences over four years (2000-2004). The book, The Wall Cannot Stop Our Stories, edited by English teacher Suzy Atallah and Toine Van Teeffelen, is quickly spreading in many countries abroad.

In taking up the diary project, the St. Joseph school and its college in Arroub wanted to make a link between the school curriculum and the difficult, sometimes traumatic experiences that students undergo. The play talks about ten different young girls who live in the Bethlehem region. It reflects their dreams, fears, joys, expectations, visions and hopes for the future, as they live under occupation.

The play is in English and has participated in the biggest theatre festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and was nominated for Amnesty International’s best play for the year 2005.

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