Call for help from Tel Aviv

For the first time I have to resort to ask your support for our major theatrical project, the Alfa Theatre, Tel Aviv. In its 9 years of existence, our theatre, combined with the Academy of Performing Arts, has produced non-commercial theatre productions, involving professional actors both Jews and Arabs; trained actors for stage, TV and Film, and organized cultural events. In hostile atmosphere, we are one of the few theatres welcoming Palestinian actors, otherwise shunned by most theatres, some of them cast in major roles (such as Mohammad Bakri in the title role of The House of Bernarda Alba, Suheil Haddad as Shylock, Morad Hassan as Woyzeck, Maisa Abdelhadi – a graduate of the Academy – in Dusa, Fish, Stas & Vi); employed Palestinian directors such as Moneer Bakri, Amer Hlehel and Akram Telawi; and produced plays in Arabic alongside our Hebrew repertory – only recently has Suheil Haddad won the Best Actor Prize at the Masrahid Arabic festival for his one man show produced by us for the festival.

After years of applying to the Ministry of Culture, we were granted recognition as a fringe theatre centre; however, a play we have offered for financial support, critically dramatizing the origins of the Zionist narrative, was first approved and budgeted by the professional commission, then suddenly denied on awkward procedural grounds. When we applied for funds for the current year (including that very play) we met with another rigid procedural difficulties, leading to suspension of our entire financial support, thus threatening the closure of our theatre after 9 years of praise and success financed almost exclusively from our private resources (with a couple of minor donations for particular projects).

We have no evidence that the „procedural“ difficulties repeatedly suspending our State support are politically motivated, but to judge by the policy of the Ministry of Culture which has recently brought to the closure of the only State supported Arab theatre in Israel, and the strong anti-Arab incitement used by the current government brings to mind such suspicion.

While contesting the moves of the Ministry in Court, we have no choice but to depend for our survival on support from donations of the public until our case is heard, and the next round of budget support comes. We have launched a public campaign for fund resources inside the country, which has already met generous response, but that is not enough to make us survive. We need to reach at least $40,000 to replace the projected State support denied us, of which we have gathered so far about 71%. We therefore apply for your kind support to help us reach our goal no later than the end of next month, so that our artistic activity makes us eligible to apply for next year’s State support. Otherwise, our 9 year project will close and the theatre demise.

Any sum, from the price of a theatre ticket upwards will be welcome. You may make your donation by credit card in US $, Euro €, or UK £ (American Express, though, can only be paid by US $) or by Paypal, via the following, highly secured link:

Or by direct transfer to our charity’s bank account:

Bank Mizrahi Tefahot
Branch 669,
Account no 669-390997: Gilboa Theatre Charity
Iban: IL07-0206-6900-0000-0390-997

Thank you for any support, big or small and, most important: please feel free to circulate this among friends.

Professor Avraham Oz
Professor Emeritus, University of Haifa
Chair, Board of Directors, Alfa Theatre, Tel Aviv

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