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2011 Press Releases

Palestinian-American Theatrical Production, "Passages of Martin Luther King," Completes Tour of Jerusalem and the West Bank

April 6, 2011

The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is pleased to announce the successful Middle East premiere of the Palestinian-American theatrical production of "Passages of Martin Luther King," performed for audiences throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank, March 22-April 5, 2011.  The Palestinian National Theater, Al Hakawati, directed and produced the play, featuring a cast of Palestinian and American performing artists who utilized the medium of theater to explore some of the key influences in the life of American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The program was funded through a grant from U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem.

Dr. Clayborne Carson, a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, prominent scholar on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and professor of history at Stanford University in California, wrote "Passages of Martin Luther King" in 1993.  Dr. Carson attended the opening performance at Al Hakawati on March 22, and speaking before the performance, stated, "I am certain that Martin Luther King would be incredibly proud to know that that this play was being performed here by and for Palestinians."

Al Hakawati's Kamel Al Basha directed the play, which thousands of Palestinians attended at Al Hakawati Theater in Jerusalem, as well as at the Freedom Theater in Jenin, An Najah University in Nablus, Dar Al Nadwa in Bethlehem, YES Theater in Hebron, Palestine Technical University Kahdouri in Tulkarem, and a final performance as a part of the Al Manara Theater Days Festival at Al Kasabah Theater in Ramallah.

The play has been performed over the years for audiences around the United States and had its international premiere in Beijing, China, in 2007.  This is the first time that the play has been performed in the Middle East.  The play featured a cast of eight Palestinian actors and seven American performing artists, who delivered powerful musical performances, including several of the Freedom Songs that inspired Dr. King and the entire American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's.  The play explored Martin Luther King's personal journey as a charismatic leader, and the challenges he faced as he advocated for nonviolent means of achieving justice, equality and democratic ideals.

The "Passages of Martin Luther King" project is one of many programs sponsored by the U.S. Consulate General throughout the year.  These programs engage Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and promote dialogue and mutual understanding between Palestinians and Americans.