© 2020

Palestinian Theatre in the West Bank

Our Human Faces


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Gabriel Varghese
    Pages 1-23
  3. Gabriel Varghese
    Pages 25-63
  4. Gabriel Varghese
    Pages 65-90
  5. Gabriel Varghese
    Pages 91-118
  6. Gabriel Varghese
    Pages 119-148
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 149-166

About this book


Since the 1990s, Palestinian theatrical activities in the West Bank have expanded exponentially. As well as local productions, Palestinian theatre-makers have presented their work to international audiences on a scale unprecedented in Palestinian history. This book explores the histories of the five major theatre companies currently working in the West Bank: Al-Kasaba Theatre, Ashtar Theatre, Al-Harah Theatre, The Freedom Theatre and Al-Rowwad. Taking the first intifada (1987-93) as his point of departure, and drawing on original fieldwork and interviews with Palestinian practitioners, Gabriel Varghese introduces the term ‘abject counterpublics’ to explore how theatre-makers contest Zionist discourse and Israeli state practices. By foregrounding Palestinian voices, and placing theories of abjection and counterpublic formation in conversation with each other, Varghese argues that theatre in the West Bank has been regulated by processes of colonial abjection and, yet, it is an important site for resisting Zionism's discourse of erasure and Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid. Palestinian Theatre in the West Bank: Our Human Faces is the first major account of Palestinian theatre covering the last three decades.


West Bank Al-Kasaba Theatre Ashtar Al-Harah Theatre The Freedom Theatre Al-Rowwad Zionism Israel intifada Hebron

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.The Kenyon Institute (Council for British Research in the Levant)East JerusalemPalestine, State of

About the authors

Gabriel Varghese is an associate research fellow at the Kenyon Institute (Council for British Research in the Levant) in East Jerusalem. His research engages with anti-/post-/de-colonial theatre, performance and literature, and the questions they raise about social movements, dramaturgies of urban life, and regimes of gender, sexuality and race. He is also a playwright, theatre director, and co-artistic director of Sandpit Arts, an award-winning platform for producing film, music and performance events. He holds a PhD in Drama from the University of Exeter.

Bibliographic information


“As a reader, I feel he delivers a scholarship not only on theatre but also, and most importantly, I argue, a scholarship on the lived experience in Palestine. His narrative becomes a counterpublic and the book challenges and disrupts the Zionist public sphere. If a researcher on theatrical productions turns into a political activist after reading this book, I would not be surprised.” (Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies, Vol. 19 (2), 2020)

“Palestinian Theatre in the West Bank: Our Human Faces enriches existing studies on the subject of Palestine and Palestinian cultural resistance since the first Intifada by offering a much-needed perspective on the role that Palestinian theatre in the West Bank plays in this context. As such, it is an important study for anyone interested in the relationship between culture and politics in the Middle East.” (Isabelle Hesse, Contemporary Levant, August 19, 2020)

“I recommend this book not only to the cohort of researchers and students interested in the subject but also to general public who want to learn about Palestinian theatre specifically or Palestine and the Palestinian cause generally.” (Tiran Manucharyan, Studies in Theatre and Performance, June 8, 2020)