Street Theatre News

Success in Sweden! Intersection at the Halmstad Festival

On the 22nd of July, after a long journey that included 6 months of training, visa setbacks, a stop in Copenhagen and a train ride, the members of the Intersection performance of the National Centre of Culture and Arts (NCCA) finally made it to Sweden to perform at the Halmstad International Street Theatre Festival. This trip was made possible thanks to the support of the Culture Foundation of the Swedish Postcode Lottery.

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The NCCA, a company comprised of two actors and three actresses from Jordan and one actor from Syria, took stage with the goal of illustrating the life conditions of Syrian refugees in Jordan. Using colloquial examples to display quotidian issues, Intersection targets specific areas of conflict and how they are resolved, for example; one of the scenes portrays a man and his wife discussing the price rise of rent and services, and how that impedes them from helping friends back home. Another scene shows a traveller crossing from Syria to Jordan. This not only exposed the difficulties and dangers of the journey, but also denounced the lack of choices that refugees have when they emigrate.

The act aims to raise awareness of the value of social cohesion and coexistence. The NCCA successfully delivered its message of cultural diversity, tolerance and acceptance in four different locations. The act took place in two refugee camps –of Syrian majority- and two different public spaces. The performances at the refugee camps were particularly emotional, as the refugees in the audience identified themselves with the journey towards safety. The act engaged with the audience when touching upon the hopes, pains and dreams in the life of a refugee, and the crowd responded with nostalgia, appreciation and cheer. The performances also had an impact within the local community. People attending the festival were engaged through an interactive and visual performance that allowed them to know more about the life of a refugee and have a better idea of the situation in the region.

There is an on going debate on refugee immigration in Sweden, and for the company it was particularly significant to be able to enhance communication and advocate for fairer treatment, using art as a tool. NCCA’s mission started when the number of Syrian refugees increased after the conflicts escalated in the country, today there are over half a million Syrian refugees in Jordan, particularly in the northern region of the country. Their journey does not finish in Halmstad; the company plans to perform at the Mrajeeb Al Fhood refugee camp in Zarqaa, and is hoping to get all the necessary clearances to bring their act to the Al Zaatari camp in Mafraq, one of the biggest refugee camps in the country, with over 80,000 refuges. The NCCA will additionally be performing at the Noor Al Hussein Foundation\Institute for Family Health centres, and the Princess Basma Resource Youth Centres in Amman.

Marcelo Hinojosa

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