Category Archives: Middle East

Actor Baris Atay arrested in Turkey

German-born actor and playwright Baris Atay was arrested by Turkish police officers two days ago. There was no reason announced for the arrest. Yet it can be seen as a reaction to critical remarks by Atay via twitter when he commented on Yusuf Yerkel, an advisor to president Erdogan.

Recently, after years of performing in his one-man show “Only A Dictator”, Baris Atay has also been banned from the stage in several Turkish cities.

Sources: English report on Cumhuiryet , German report on taz

Documentary Film on Survirors of Kabul Attack 2014

“Heartbeat: Silence after the Explosion” was the performance which was attacked by a suicide bombing on December 11, 2014. When violence hits a second time, some of the artists went back on stage, playing the most daring piece they imaginable, on the streets of Kabul, unprotected.

The new documentary film TRUE WARRIORS tells the story of the actors and the musicians who were on stage that day.

Trailer
Film website

Mohammed Abu Sakha released on 30 August

After after spending 625 days in an Israeli prison without charge or trial (see ACAR posts 1, 2, 3, and 4) , Mohammed Abu Sakha, trainer and performer at Palestinian Circus School was released on 30 August and returned to his family. He was arrested at an Israeli checkpoint on 14 December 2015 on his way to work at the Palestinian Circus School, and held since then under a series of administrative orders. Israel’s Shin Bet security agency accused him of being a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the Jewish state considers a terrorist group because of its armed wing. Abu Sakha denied the allegations and said Israeli forces never told him the exact reason for his arrest or how long he would be detained. His imprisonment had sparked a high-profile campaign for his release, with support from circus performers and activists around the world, with Amnesty international calling for him to be “charged with a crime or released”.

“It’s shocking to see how someone can be imprisoned for 21 months, without charge, and at the end be released without being charged with any crime at all. They took away 21 months of his life, and 21 months from those that needed him.” (Shadi Zmorrod, founder of the Palestinian Circus School).

Abu Sakha’s release came against the backdrop of a stark rise in the number of those newly detained without charge or trial by Israel.

Sources: Amnesty International, Middle East Eye, The Times of Israel

 

27 May, Nörrköpping: ACAR-Seminar “Artistic Expression as Political Manifestation”

“Theatre as Resistance – artistic expression as political manifestation” is a public seminar, organized by Scensverige (former Teaterunionen) in the framework of the Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts 2017 in Norrköping.
In 2016, the number of offenses against artistes and crimes against artistic freedom around the world doubled according to a recent report. The seminar presents the facts surrounding this together with Jonatan Stanczak, The Freedom Theatre Jenin, Natalia Koliada, Belarus Free Theatre and Abduljaebbar Alsuhili, comedian, actor and activist from Yemen.
The seminar is arranged in collaboration with Kulturhuset Stadsteatern and ITI’s Action Committe for Artists Rights.
Date: Saturday May 27, 10:00-11:45. Place: Louis De Geer Konsert & Kongress, Nörrköping, Sweden.
Source and info at Scensverige

ITI concerned about dismissals in Turkey

Regarding the dismissal of professors and research assistants of the theatre department of the Ankara University ACAR wrote to the Turkish government: “We, representing the international theatre community in many countries, express our deep concern about these dismissals of colleagues – professors as well as all the many Turkish artists and intellectuals being suspected and threatened within the past months.
We urgently ask your government to reconsider this decision.”
Letter to Turkish Government

update: Read also the statement of the Turkish section of the  International Association of Theatre Critics and from the Executive Committee of the International Federation for Theatre Research