The 2020 Lockdown Theatre competition

I wrote this at the beginning of , ‘Popcorn and other plays’

‘”This book is dedicated to Sahar Salha and Saida Al Madhoon, UNRWA teachers in Gaza whose students remotely performed two traditional Palestinian stories (Jbene and The farmer who followed his dream) to a large audience of English teachers from around the world at the 2017 IATEFL conference in Glasgow. By doing this they launched the concept of remote theatre as a tool for learning and for raising awareness about the Palestinian cause

Of course young people and teachers in Palestine have been creating and performing remote theatre pieces for quite a long time now and have become leaders in this emerging field. And while the rest of the world have been trying to catch up because of the corona pandemic, Palestinians involved in HUP have been busy creating a brand new genre of remote theatre which we’re calling Lockdown Theatre.

Live Lockdown theatre performance of ‘I couldn’t say goodbye’

What is Lockdown theatre?

Quite simply it’s theatre performed remotely through Zoom and/or Facebook, but where there is only one actor per webcam. This a challenge of course, but, like all challenges, it can lead to new ways of being creative. Have a look at our new Youtube playlist with some examples of how people have risen to that challenge.

Live lockdown theatre performance of ‘The farmer who followed his dream’

The competition

First of all, it’s important to say that this isn’t a competition with a prize of travel, like our previous remote theatre competitions. We simply don’t know when that is going to be possible again in the current situation and don’t want to offer something we can’t deliver on. What the winner or winners will receive is an opportunity to perform their play at some important online events, such as the 2021 Hands up Project conference as well as trophies recognising their achievement.

Live lockdown theatre performance of ‘Oh my home’

There are some other big differences to the rules too ;-

  1. This competition is open to young learners of English as a second language aged 15 or under anywhere in the world – not just in Palestine. Since everyone will be connecting from their own homes, the performance could involve actors in different locations around the world.
  2. This isn’t about writing a play. It’s purely about putting together an interesting well-acted lockdown theatre performance. So we’re asking participants to work with a play that has already been written. In fact the play must be taken from our first book, ‘Toothbrush and other plays’ which is available to download here. The play can be adapted and edited slightly, but the starting point must be one of the 30 scripts included in this book.
  3. As before, there must be a maximum of 5 actors in the play and each young person can only participate in one play. Because we recognise that Lockdown theatre may take a little longer than Remote Theatre, we’re extending the time limit to 8 minutes.
  4. The turnaround period is much shorter. We need to receive an email at with a link to an unlisted Youtube recording of your lockdown performance by midnight Palestine time on Friday 8th January 2021. The recording needs to be done through Zoom and must be an absolute maximum of 8 minutes unedited recording (you can cut the beginning and/or the end off of course) The virtual background or any other effect available through Zoom is allowed. In the email you’ll need to include the name of the play from “Toothbrush and other plays”, the names, country of residence, and ages of all the participants, and attach a completed data protection form signed by a parent or guardian for each participant. These forms are available for download either in English or in Arabic at the bottom of this page.
  5. The judges will choose a certain number of the best of these Lockdown theatre performances (based on the criteria of creative expression, clarity of expression and acting ability ) which will go through to the final. The final will involve a live streamed version of the play which we will arrange in the new year.

Good luck to everybody, everywhere!

Live lockdown theatre performance of ‘An exile inside the home country’

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