The Palestinian National Theatre, for three decades the leading performing arts and cultural center for Arabs in Jerusalem, is facing potential closure after running up large municipal debts, its director said on Friday.
Known as “Al Hakawati” (The Storyteller), the theatre has amassed unpaid bills of $150,000 over the past five years, with money owed to city hall, to the national insurance fund and to the local Israeli electricity company.
Opened in 1984 in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem, Al Hakawati has received international acclaim for its performances and its training of young actors. It often puts on productions with groups from the United States, Britain and France.
“We are the only professional theatre in East Jerusalem,” director Amer Khalil told Reuters. “I hope we can manage to get at least half the money we owe by Sunday or Monday, otherwise we will be closed down.” — Reuters, Saturday, 28 November 2015
Irish Artist Gary Keegan (brokentalkers) spoke to the theatre’s Artistic Director today: “I just got off the phone with Amer Kahlil, the AD at the Palestinian National Theatre. And the amount they need immediately to avoid closure by the Israeli authorities is 20, 000 USD. The total dept is 150 k. There are efforts being made to postpone the closure till thursday but the outcome of this legal effort are not guaranteed. In any event the Irish artistic community should support their colleagues in Palestine National Theatre. ”
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