We are very pleased to announce the results of the Hands Up Project Playwriting and play performing competition for Palestinian children.
Though I have had the enormous pleasure of watching and reading all 88 plays that were submitted, I was not involved in the process of picking the winners at all. A panel of 25 independent judges from Palestine and around the world, including experts in the fields of acting, educational drama, and English language teaching were given this challenging task.
By all accounts, the creativity and the quality of the acting and storytelling way surpassed all expectations and this made the judges task very difficult. After a 2 week long process of reading the scripts and watching the videos the judges voted on which one they felt would make the best overall performance as a play. In the end it was incredibly close, particularly between the three plays below. The results are as follows.
1st Place – Inner Thoughts
Created and performed by Rawan El Alawi, Dania Dahalan, Batool Sager, Salma Shammout and Zaheya Arafa from New Khan Younis prep school, Gaza, with support from their teacher, Amal Mukhairez.
2nd Place – A window onto the outside
Created and performed by Diana Hadeehi, Monaliza Abo Seda, Tasneem Belbesie and Leena Zaqout from Mamounia prep school, Gaza, with support from their teacher, Rana Musallam.
3rd Place – Live your life
Created and perfomed and Sally Hweihi, Shaza Hamad, Razan Hweihi, Marwa Hamad, and Malak Hamdan from Beit Hanoun prep girls school A Gaza, with support from their teacher, Manal Ismail.
Of course, there were many other outstanding plays within the remaining 85 plays that were submitted and huge congratulations to everyone who took part. Together the plays make up a fascinating testament to what life in Palestine is like, to the incredible creativity that exists there, and to the power of playmaking as a tool for learning. The plays cover themes such as the family, the occupation, hopes and dreams, and cultural issues. We will be inviting many of the runners up to perform at local conferences in the West Bank and Gaza, and awarding certificates and other prizes.
We will also be including as many of the scripts as possible in a book which will be published, with names of the participating students if desired. If your school submitted a play for the competition and you would like it to be included in the book, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and include a short text (maximum 100 words) about the process you worked with with your students to create the play and how you think they benefitted from the experience.
Please also email me if you would like me to share specific feedback from the judges about your play. I also need the signed parental consent form in Arabic so that I can publish other videos of plays on our youtube channel. I would like to share as many of these amazing plays as possible so that people can around the world can benefit from seeing them.
Congratulations to everyone who submitted a play for being part of something truly engaging, inspiring and incredibly moving!