Dear Friends, Supporters and Fans,

Justin Butcher will be cycling across wales to raise funds to enable us to take the play to Edinburgh, please see message blelow.

We are now planning with Amos Trust to take it to the Assembly Rooms at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s biggest arts festival, to continue the campaign of awareness-raising and calling for an end to the siege.

Our total costs for this are just over £38,000, of which we have raised just over £16,000 thus far.

Next week, from Thursday June 25th-Sunday June 28th, I shall be cycling the coast to coast route across Wales to raise funds for this project, 223 miles in 4 days from Bangor to Cardiff. My target figure is £10,000 (that’s a hundred friends giving £100 each, or 200 giving £50 each etc etc).

I would be very grateful if you would consider making a donation to this fund. The simplest way to do so is to visit my justgiving page:

http://www.justgiving.com/justinbutcher2

Making a donation online via Justgiving is quick, secure and easy.

Alternatively, you can write a cheque, made payable to Amos Trust and write “for the Gaza play” on the back, and send it to: Amos Trust, All Hallows-on-the-wall, 83 London Wall, London EC2M 5ND. If appropriate, please include a letter stating that you are a UK tax-payer and wish to Gift-Aid your donation, thereby increasing its value by 28%.

Thank you for reading this, and thank you for your support. Please forward this to any friends you think may be interested in supporting the project.

Kind regards –

Justin B.

JUSTIN BUTCHER
harrisonbutcher@blueyonder.co.uk

Please click the link below for a PDF document of the amazing review of the play by the Palestine Telegraph

Palestine Telegraph review

Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea

Theatro Technis, London

3 / 5

Michael Billington 

Saturday 21 February 2009

In 2003, Justin Butcher’s The Madness of George Dubya launched a series of plays attacking the war in Iraq at this tiny north London theatre. Now, Butcher has joined forces with the Palestinian writer Ahmed Masoud, the artist Jane Frere and the film-maker Zia Trench to create an 80-minute piece responding to the situation in Gaza. While it makes no pretence to objectivity, it is a deeply felt, humane and vividly expressive reaction to the current crisis.

Its title springs from a slang Arabic phrase in which “go to Gaza” is synonymous with “go to hell”. The force of that becomes apparent the moment you step inside the theatre, where you are confronted, in Frere’s astonishing design, by towering mounds of ashen rubble constructed out of shoes.

This becomes the setting for a series of vignettes of Gaza life loosely linked by the plight of a young man looking for a place to die: a somewhat redundant urge, as he is wryly reminded, in a blockaded territory suffering from dire water and electricity shortages, as well as intensive aerial bombardment. Politicised by the prevailing suffering, he joins the resistance forces, and finally finds the extinction he craves.

The somewhat self-conscious literary framework is less impressive than the sequences it contains. A young Gaza girl, in the midst of a fierce air raid, launches into a life-affirming dance, to her mother’s horror. Similarly rejecting parental values, an Israeli woman describes how she was imprisoned for refusing to join the army. Most moving of all is the itemised reading of the names of 49 members of a Gaza family who all died after being moved, by the invading forces, to a supposedly safe house. The overall mood, reinforced by plangent songs delivered by Nizar al-Issa, is one of lamentation at the transformation of this once beautiful land into a living hell.

Created in three weeks and backed by large and small donors, including Jews for Justice for Palestinians, the show is not perfect, and has no time to explore the political context of military action. But theatre is not bound by rules of impartiality and balance: you don’t, after all, get a fair picture of the French in Henry V. I stress the point only because this week has seen strenuous attacks on works like Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children and accusations of antisemitism levelled at its supporters. I sincerely hope the same does not happen with this latest piece, which offers a moving plea for the cherishable value of every human life.

  1. Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea
  2. by Ahmed Masoud, Justin Butcher, Jane Frere and Zia Trench
  3. Theatro Technis ,
  4. London
  1. Until 14 March 2009
  2. Box office:
    020-7734 8932

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Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea

 

A space and a moment – set aside from people’s busy email-driven, mobile phone buzzing, credit-crunch anxious daily lives – which people can enter, hear and see enacted the true stories of those in Gaza.”

Justin Butcher, writer-director

 

Palestinian and British artists, writers and filmmakers come together to create an unusual and unique piece of theatre in response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

 

In spite of the constraints, people inside Gaza have contributed photos, video footage and testimonies for this production. The performance also provides a unique opportunity for the audiences to record and send personal messages of solidarity.