Pro-Palestine theatre show prompts Lowry boss to warn staff over backlash in memo

An internal memo from the Lowry’s chief executive leaked to MM is warning staff over the ‘sensitive’ nature of a a pro-Palestinian performance taking place in May.

Based on actual events that took place during 2002’s Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, The Siege ‘raises important questions about strategies of resistance’, inspired by the true stories of a group of fighters who took refuge in the church.

Palestine-based group The Freedom Theatre, whose performance two months tonight at the Salford venue will be the biggest touring production ever performed in the UK by a Palestinian theatre company, is expected to reignite the ‘sensitive’ debate on the conflict with Israel.

Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief Executive at the Lowry, said in the memo issued on Wednesday: “As with any work relating to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, The Siege is likely to attract comment and emotion for both sides of the debate.

“Given that, I just wanted to reiterate The Lowry’s position on programming work of a sensitive and political nature.

“We wholeheartedly support international cultural exchange and are proud to provide a platform for art that encourages people to engage in discussion.”

The performance was created when theatre company directors traced the exiled Palestinian fighters who are now scattered across Europe, collecting their untold accounts ‘of an event that with time has taken on almost mythical proportions’.

Directed by Palestinian Nabil Al-Raee and British theatre director Zoe Lafferty, the piece is developed and devised by the actors, who according to the group are ‘a unique ensemble who use culture as a form of resistance and who have lived under occupation their whole lives’.

Ms Fawcett added: “Our decision to programme The Siege was made solely on the artistic merits of The Freedom Theatre as a company and the work itself as a performance.

“Whilst there will be a range of perspectives on The Siege, it is without doubt a great piece of work telling a fantastic story.”

The performance arrives at the Lowry on Wednesday 13 and Thursday May 14 at 8pm. Tickets can be bought here.

Image courtesy of Neil Howard (left) and Global Panorama (right) with thanks

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