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Samer Al-Saber, Permission To Perform: Palestinian Theatre in Jerusalem, 1967-1993

Al-Saber, Samer. Permission To Perform: Palestinian Theatre in Jerusalem, 1967-1993. 2013. University of Washington, PhD dissertation. 

In the period of 1967 to 1993, Palestinian theatre became a major platform for the expression of the Palestinian identity. This dissertation asks the following question: Why and how did Palestinian theatre thrive in Jerusalem during this period? I begin this study by outlining all the laws and regulations that influenced the development of Palestinian theatre practices since the Ottoman period. Then I focus on the practices and aesthetics of the theatre troupes which successfully established theatre buildings in Jerusalem. In surveying both the state-imposed laws and the grassroots theatrical practices, I document examples of the interactions between the theatre artists and the Israeli authorities. Since Palestinian theatre artists had to apply for the permission to perform from the civilian censorship council in West Jerusalem and the military governors of various regions in the Occupied territories, the Palestinians developed various strategies and tactics in order to assert their identity and maintain their livelihood under occupation. By documenting examples of Palestinian theatre in Jerusalem, I argue that the permission to perform shaped the way theatre flourished and eventually declined in the city.

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