What Palestine Has Done for British Theatre

To accompany a notice about the English-language production of Fireworks (Al-3ab Nariya), the Royal Court Theatre helped make a brief promotional film about British and Palestinian theatre artists working together:

In the film, the Royal Court Theatre’s international director, Elyse Dodgson, says that the RCT began collaborative work with Palestinian theatre artists in 1998. And in the last seventeen years, Dodgson said, “I think that Palestine has done a lot more for British theatre practitioners than we could ever do for them.”

The statement is of course meant to be a sideways swipe at notions of Anglo artists going abroad to “lift others from artistic poverty.” But it’s also an interesting assertion on its face: that the exchange is more of a boon to British theatre than to Palestinians.

Playwright Stephen Jeffreys further says in the video: “In terms of the Royal Court, it’s the exchange of ideas. It’s not a one-way process. I can’t think of a [British] writer who hasn’t been changed by going to one of the places that we tend to go on visits. Whether it’s a political or a stylistic idea or a general feeling of the country, it changes the writers.”


Meanwhile, Fireworks — by Dalia Taha, trans. Clem Naylor, directed by Richard Twyman — opened on Feb. 12 and continues through March 14 at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in London.

In Fireworks, the protagonists are eleven year-old Lubna and twelve year-old Khalil, who are “playing on the empty stairwell in their apartment block. As the siege intensifies outside, fear for their safety becomes as crippling as the conflict itself.”

Taha is a Palestinian poet, novelist, and playwright who was born in Berlin and grew up in Ramallah.

Poetry by Dalia Taha:

War, trans. Allison Blecker


Where and when to see the play:

On the Royal Court Theatre website