The Caravan Europe

The Caravan Europe

Exciting news for The Caravan!

We have just been awarded a grant by the European Cultural Foundation to help us launch The Caravan Europe. This grant will fund the research we need to carry out to find partners in France, Germany and Sweden to help us bring this project to life.

The grant was awarded to us after Sabine Choucair, Creator of The Caravan, attended the IDEA CAMP in Madrid earlier this year hosted by ECF, the Connected Action for the Commons network and the City of Madrid. Fifty change makers were gathered for a period of 3 days where they met each other and worked on their ideas, 25 of which were awarded a research and development grant.

The Caravan Europe will involve us travelling around France, Germany and Sweden collecting and recording stories from refugees around the three countries. We will collate these audio stories and design a physical performance staged on a van to accompany them.  We will then tour the three countries with our performance van sharing these stories with as many communities as possible.

The Caravan Europe is an opportunity to bridge the gap between host communities and refugee communities in Europe who suffer from both a language and cultural barrier. By telling these individual stories we can humanize the ongoing refugee crisis and create a space to open a dialogue between both communities. This is such an important step as we witnessed with the performances of The Caravan in Lebanon.

We received a remarkable response from people when we took the performance to Tunisia in 2016. Therefore, we are very excited to share these wonderful stories with audiences in Europe!

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The Caravan Goes to School, The Caravan The World Is Listening

Shrinking Cultural Space

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Beirut DC Breaks the Silence Around the Discrimination Faced by Syrian Refugee Artists in Lebanon.

Beirut DC documented the shrinking cultural space facing Syrians in Lebanon. Syrian artists and communities are being segregated from their Lebanese counterparts in the name of security through policies as curfews. Such discriminatory policies risk good relations between the two groups, as well as offending both Lebanese and international human rights law.

Find report in English here

بيروت دي سي تكسر حاجز الصمت بخصوص التمييز ضد الفنانين السوريين اللاجئين في لبنان.

وثقت جمعية بيروت دي سي المساحات الثقافية المتقلصة بالنسبة للسوريين في لبنان. يتم فصل الفنانين السوريين والمجتمعات السورية عن تلك اللبنانية بذريعة الحفاظ على الأمن من خلال فرض سياسات حظر التجول. تلك السياسات التمييزية تؤثر سلباً على العلاقات الجيدة بين الفريقين، كما أنها مخالفة للقوانين اللبنانية والقانون الدولي لحقوق الإنسان.

إضغط هنا للحصول على التقرير باللغة العربية

About Goes to School, The Caravan Goes to School

About The Caravan Goes to School

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The Caravan Goes Back to School puts the voices of Lebanese and Syrians on the stage of the street. Through a combination of audio autobiographical storytelling and physical theater on a- you guessed it- caravan- a magical 40 min street performance is woven together with the purpose to get Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian kids back to School.

Six actors with a stage not much larger than a front door use buffoons, puppets, plastic, mime and a whole lot of imagination to explore 6 stories in 6 different dynamic styles to talk with Kids and Parents alike.

In 2016, there were 180.000 Syrian refugees and 50.000 Lebanese children out of school.

This project is part of the UNICEF Back to School Campaign #Ana_7ader and is the second in a series of Caravan shows which will tour 20 different villages in Lebanon during October 2016

مشروع الكرفانة – لنرجع عالمدرسة – ينقل أصوات اللبنانيّين والسوريّين على مسرح الشارع. من خلال الجمع ما بين القصص الحقيقيّة المسجلة والمسرح الجسماني الذي سيقدّم على سطح الكرفانة. عرض شارع حالم مدته 40 دقيقة يهدف إلى تشجيع الأولاد اللبنانيين، السوريين والفلسطينيين للعودة إلى المدرسة

ستة ممثلون على مسرح حجمه لا يتعدى حجم الباب الرئيسي، يستخدمون التهريج، الدمى، الإيماء والكثير من الخيال للبحث في 6 قصص و6 أساليب مختلفة للتواصل مع الأولاد والأهل

في العام 2016، هناك 180 ألف لاجىء سوري و50 ألف طفل لبناني خارج المدرسة

هذا المشروع هو جزء من حملة يونيسف للعودة إلى المدرسة أنا_حاضر وهو الجزء الثاني من عروضات الكرفانة التي ستجول في 20 منطقة لبنانية مختلفة خلال شهر تشرين الأول 2016

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The Caravan The World Is Listening, Uncategorized

The Caravan Performances

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أنهينا جولة الكرفانة في لبنان

قدمنا 40 عرضاً في مختلف المناطق اللبنانية: في البقاع (2000 لبناني، 3700 سوري)، بيروت (700 لبناني، 150 سوري، 150 فلسطيني)، وفي الجنوب (300 لبناني، 100 سوري)

خلال جولتنا، حدثت التفجيرات في البقاع فإضطررنا لإلغاء بعض العروضات بسبب الجو المتوتر وحظر التجوّل المفروض على اللاجئين في العديد من الضيع. ولكننا فرحنا عندما لاحظنا أن الناس كانوا متفهمين لإتخاذنا هذه الإجراءات

بالنسبة لردات فعل الجمهور، كانت العروضات في مخيمات السوريين إيجابية معظم الوقت. شكرنا الأشخاص لمشاركتنا قصصهم وسألونا لماذا لا نعرض المسرحية للمجتمع اللبناني. عندما عرفوا أننا سنعرض المسرحية للبنانيين، كانت لديهم الرغبة لمعرفة ردات فعلهم

عندما قدمنا العرض للجمهور اللبناني، كانت ردات الفعل متفاوتة: 80% إيجابية و20% سلبية. بكى الكثير من الأشخاص خلال وبعد العرض، والبعض تأثّر وشعر بأن هذه القصص عالمية وتحدث في كل المجتمعات الفقيرة. في الكثير من العرضات، شارك المشاهدون قصصهم بعد العرض أو خلال النقاش

نحن سعيدين لأن الممثلين من فريق البقاع شعروا بالفخر الشديد لمشاركتهم في هذا المشروع. كان أداؤهم مليء بالشغف والحماس والفخر لنشرهم أصوات عائلاتهم
قال أصغر الممثلين، درغام، أنه لن ينسى أبداً هذه التجربة التي أثّرت به و أنه يرغب في ممارسة هذا العمل عندما يكبر. قال سيّد أنه يشعر بالفخر لمشاركته في هذا العمل وأنه يشعر بأن العالم يتقبلونه أكثر من ذي قبل

بعدما إنتهينا من جولتنا في لبنان إتجهنا إلى تونس

شارك كل من ليال غانم، عبدالله جطل، محمد لطوف، سابين شقير ومصطفى يموت (زيكو هاوس) في مهرجان بلا حدود، الذي أقيم في مدينة نابل

كما شاركنا في نشاطات صفاقس عاصمة الثقافة العربية، وفي سيدي منصور

كان عرضنا في سيدي منصور ملفتاً لأننا قدمنا المسرحية في الساعة ال12 ليلاً وتفاجئنا بتواجد 1500 شخصاً بإنتظارنا! كنا قلقين من أن أحداً لن يأتِ ليشاهدنا في هذه الساعة المتأخرة

كما فرحنا عندما إكتشفنا محبة التونسيين لبلاد الشام وأهلها. خلال العروضات، شاركوا معنا كثيراً وأحبوا العرض وتحمسوا للمشاركة بآرائهم العديدة

نحن متأكدون أن الناس متعطشين لسماع القصص الشخصية لاجئين، ونعتقد أن علينا تقديم عرضنا لجمهور أوسع. نود أن ندعو الناس إلى التعامل مع شؤون اللاجئين بتعاطف أكبر، وأن نتحدى الخوف والوصمة السلبية، بطريقة سليمة وأكثر فعالية

وبالنسبة للأشهر القادمة، نأمل بنقل عرضنا إلى أوروبا قريباً
لذلك، نأمل أن نجول بقصصنا في المدن الأوروبية وأن نتشاركها مع أناس متشوقين للتمعّن بالتحديات والإنتصارات اليومية للشعب السوري


_DSC4551The Caravan tour in Lebanon has come to an end.

We have performed 40 shows all over Lebanon: the Bekaa (for 2000 Lebanese, 3700 Syrians), Beirut (for 700 Lebanese, 150 Syrians, 150 Palestinians) and the South (for 300 Lebanese, 100 Syrians).

During our tour, the Qaa attacks happened, so we were obliged to cancel some shows seeing as the atmosphere in the Bekaa was quite tense and many villages imposed curfews on refugees. People were very supportive when we started the tour again.

As for the audiences’ reactions, the shows performed for Syrian refugees in the camps were very positive most of the time. People thanked us for sharing their stories and wondered why we don’t take the performance to the Lebanese community. When they knew that we were actually performing for Lebanese people, they were intrigued to hear about their reactions.

When we performed for the Lebanese audience, the reactions were 80% supportive and 20% against. Many people cried during and after the performance, many got emotional and felt that these stories are universal and are happening with all poor people. We had a lot of shows where people shared their stories as well after the show or during the debate.

We are also glad that the cast from the Bekaa were very proud to have participated in this project. They were performing with such passion and excitement; proud to be helping in spreading the voices of their families.

 

Dergham, the youngest of the performers, said that he will never forget this experience that marked him and that he wants to do the same when he grows up. Sayed said that he feels proud that he was part of this and that he feels people are accepting him more than before.

After finishing our tour in Lebanon, we headed to Tunisia!

Layal Ghanem, Abdullah Jatal, Mohammad Lattouf, Sabine Choucair, and Moustapha Yammout (Zicco House) performed in the city Nabeul, within Festival Without Borders.

We also performed in Sfax as part the Arab Capital of Culture event, and in Sidi Mansour.

The Sidi Mansour performance was particularly interesting because we performed at 12am and we were surprised to find an audience of 1500 people waiting to watch us! At 12am! We were worried that we wouldn’t find anyone in the audience.

We were also happy to discover the Tunisians’ love for the Levant and for Levantine people. They were participative, they loved the show and they were very eager to share many of their opinions with us.

We are positive now that people are eager to listen to personal stories of refugees and we think it is important to share this performance to a wider audience. We want to invite people to consider refugee issues from a place of increased empathy, allowing fear and negative stigma to be challenged and changed in a safe and therefore more effective manner.

Therefore, we are hoping to take these amazing stories to European cities and to share them with people who are excited to take a closer look at the daily struggles and triumphs of the Syrian people.

Phase 3

Press Conference and Tour Schedule

On Tuesday June 14 2016, Beirut DC held a press conference to announce The Caravan project. The conference was attended by many media representatives who received an in depth preview of the project as well as the tour dates for The Caravan street performances. The tour will begin with the First group formed of Syrian refugees from the Bekaa who felt responsible for spreading the word and sharing their stories in yet another and new medium.

For the tours at the coast, we chose a group of professional Syrian actors to perform the street performance.

Check out the schedule below and follow Group 1 and Group 2 around.

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عقدت جمعية بيروت دي سي مؤتمراً صحفياً لإطلاق جولة مسرح الشارع التابعة لمشروع الكرفانة بحضور العديد من ممثلي الصحافة. تم التحدث بعمق عن خطة العمل التي قام الفريق بالعمل عليها للوصول الى هذه المرحلة والنتيجة كما تم التحدث عن جولة مسرح الشارع التابعة للكرفانة التي  سوف تبدأ يوم الثلاثاء ٢١ حزيران مع الفريق الأول الذي اخترناه من أشخاص من مخيمات اللاجئين السوريين في البقاع

أما الفريق الثاني فسيعرض في المناطق الساحلية. هذا الفريق يتألف من ممثلين سوريين محترفين

تابعوا البرنامج وتابعونا لمعرفة أماكن العروضات

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The caravan lebanon press conference 10The caravan lebanon press conference 06The caravan lebanon press conference 05The caravan lebanon press conference 04The caravan lebanon press conference 09The caravan lebanon press conference 07The caravan lebanon press conference 08The caravan lebanon press conference 11The caravan lebanon press conference 12The caravan lebanon press conference 01The caravan lebanon press conference 03The caravan lebanon press conference 02
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Phase 3

Meet The (First) Cast

We began phase 3 (rehearsals) with an intensive 2-day workshop audition.
The first day was pretty relentless: 3 hours of physical theatre games and exercises with a group of 30 young men (and one young woman!) in the heat of the Bekaa valley tent.
On day 2 we showed up and our 30 actors had been cut down to 10. The beauty of self-selection!  It wasn’t easy to decide who should stay on. In the end, we chose 6 main cast and 2 alternates, as 2 of our main actors are scheduled to fly to Norway on June 6th (According to some friends and colleagues, this means we will probably lose them on the 6th. According to others, there’s a good chance we’ll have them for the whole tour. We don’t know what to believe so we just set up a plan A, B, C, and D, as we always do).

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The (first) cast:

Dergham

13-year old Dergham is our shining star.  On the first day of auditions we told him to go home because he was too young (the rest of the cast are 16-20).  He dug his heels down and said “no, I really want to perform”. We told him to leave a second time and he still said no.  We figured, if he wants it that bad, let him at least try. And of course he was a total star.

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Dergham’s sister Hanan is a force too, hers is a quiet strength. We know that she must be fielding a lot of questions from the other girls in her community (she tells us as much) for being the only girl to perform in a group of teenage guys. She tells us that when she’s hassled she replies, “I have a right to be here too”. When reporters (mostly women) pop in to record videos or take pictures, the boys all blush and giggle. But Hanan sits next to the reporters and asks quietly, confidently, “would you like to interview me?” Of course they would.

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Ahmed is the charismatic leader. Older than the other lads, he has the confidence, charm, and physical presence to hold a room, and—more importantly—wrangle a crowd, a skill we know we’ll be relying on when we step out of the safety of the rehearsal room into the unpredictability of the streets.

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Sayyed is another leader, an unexpected one. Small, with boxy glasses and a tufty moustache, he doesn’t look like the kind of guy who would be able to hold a crowd, but wow! Can he! He commits fully to his characters and has a grounded way of communicating that oozes capability. When we ask which of the actors will be able to be “even headed” enough to be the facilitator of a heated debate, all of the cast unanimously nod towards Sayyed.

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Ali is the lovable troublemaker. He caught our attention when he swaggered into the first rehearsal and cheekily stole puffs of a cigarette while we pointed him out the door shouting Barra Barra! Once we began scripting and sat down with text a new side emerged, he led the group through writes and rewrites, his way with words is brilliant.

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Ali’s brother Aboudi is the cheerful worker, no conflict with anyone or anything. We almost missed him in the audition because he’s like water–no tactics, no tension, no drama. Just good, solid presence.

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Yousuf is a gentle giant. Constantly smiling, always relaxed, the first to volunteer to play the silly roles the others shy away from. He is also a natural director, moulding and shaping cast members into a tableau of the dragon, making the most coherent points about what is and what isn’t theatrical. He is a great and positive spirit to have in the room.

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Mohammed is the philosopher. Given a note, he will mull it over for several seconds while the others are springing into action. On the second audition day he impressed us with his gentle, serious tone. He is always helping the other cast members, it is in his nature to be helpful.

Every day we pull up in our little red car to see these 8 already ready and waiting with massive smiles. We were gutted when we realised there was absolutely no way to get around the situation of not being able to tour with them (getting through checkpoints is a problem for most people here), so instead of re-casting we just decided to get a second cast for the Beirut shows. Twice the rehearsals, twice the fun!

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Phase 2

Seven Weeks in The Caravan سبعة أسابيع بالكرفانة

Seven weeks have passed since the start of our stories’ collection phase.
We have worked with tens of Syrian refugees in the Bekaa valley, including men, women, and children.
Stories have been collected and recorded.
Laughs have been shared and tears have been shed.
The stories have gathered more than 2500 video views on our YouTube channel and more than 20,000 on our Facebook page.
Six stories have been shared till now. And many more to come.
We’re thrilled that the stories were featured on a popular show on a Lebanese TV station LBC. A strong step to make the stories heard and get the voices across. ( maybe Sara can find a better way to put it. without the word Strong)
Two of the ladies who had their stories recorded, shared their stories again on live TV and talked about their situation.
Click on the video below to watch the interview with The Caravan’s artistic director Sabine Choucair.
The reception of the stories was expected, as some were supportive, while others were not. A glimpse of the replies are shared below in the screenshots.

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مرّت سبع أسابيع منذ بدء مرحلة تجميع القصص. عملنا مع عشرات اللاجئين السوريين في سهل البقاع، ومنهم رجال، نساء وأطفال

جمعنا وسجّلنا القصص

تشاركنا الضحكات وذرفنا الدّموع

 أكثر من ٢٥٠٠ شخص شاهد القصص على موقع يوتيوب، وأكثر من ٢٠٠٠٠ شخص تابع مقاطع الفيديو على موقع فايسبوك

نشرنا ستة قصص حتى الآن، وهناك المزيد من القصص التي ستُنشر قريباً

فرحنا كثيراً لأنّه تمّ نشر القصص في برنامج معروف على محطة الـ أل بي سي اللبنانية. وكانت هذه خطوة مهمة من أجل إيصال أصوات اللاجئين وقصصهم. سيدتان من اللواتي سجّلنا قصصهنّ سردتا قصصهما مجدداً في البرنامج وتحدثتا عن أوضاعهما الحالية

إضغط على رابط الفيديو في الأسفل لمشاهدة مقابلة سابين شقير، المديرة الفنية لمشروع الكرفانة

كانت ردّات الفعل تجاه القصص كما كان متوقعاً، فالبعض منها كان مشجعاً والبعض الآخر لم يكن كذلك. هذه لمحة عن التعلقات.

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Phase 2

قصصهم الشخصية، بأصواتهم

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بعد بضع أسابيع من ورشات العمل وأيام من التسجيل، بإمكاننا أن نقول أن التجربة حتى الآن منشطة ومحيّرة في آنٍ معاً. التّفاعلات اليومية، مشاركة القصص، الثّقة، الإبتسامات والدموع… كل هذا قد جعلنا متأكدين من قيمة المشروع الذي يخلق المساحة للإستماع  والمشاركة بتلك القصص. العنوان الذي إخترناه بشكل عفوي “والعالم يسمع” هو الشعار للمساحة التي خلقناها. يرغب المشاركون من العالم كله أن يسمع قصصهم. من خلال التسجيل والعرض وتوصيل الصوت، يصبح دورنا فجأةً أكثر من مجرّد وظيفة رقميّة أو ميكانيكية. هو تحدٍّ للإبداع، يتطلّب الإصغاء لما هو أبعد من مجرّد كلمات، والتأكيد على المعاني المبطّنة التي لا بد من مشاركتها فوراً. من أجل مشاركة قصة شخص ما، عليك أولاً أن تفهم/تفهمي أهميتها بالنسبة له/لها. ما هي الرسالة الأساسيّة من القصة؟ ما الذي يريدون قوله للعالم؟ قد يتحدّث أحدهم عن بيع بقرة العائلة، مما قد يعني الهزيمة  بلنسبة له/ لها، أو قد يعني الولادة من جديد. ليست القصص عبارة عن مجموعة من الحقائق أو الكلمات
عليك أن تفهم/ي سارد/ة الرواية بهدف فهم القصة. عليك فهم مساحتهم الدّاخلية المميزة، وكيفية تأثرها بكل فعل أو حادثة

 نعلم أنّ العالم يصغي. ولكن الصحافيون، والسياسيون والفنّانون وحتى الأشخاص الذين نقابلهم في المخيمات يستخدمون الأجزاء الأقوى والأكثر تأثيراً، بهدف فهم تلك القصص وتوصيلها. كيف ندرّب أنفسنا على الإصغاء لحياة جديدة، لمعانٍ جديدة، لرسائل الجديدة، لمفاهيم جديدة، في هذا الوابل من اللغة؟

“The Caravan” is a project that puts Syrian refugee voices from the Bekaa valley at the heart of a street theatre performance, literally, through the use of recorded storytelling audio. It is a project by Beirut DC, Sawa for Development and Aid, Clown Me In, Theatre Témoin co-funded by the European Union in Lebanon, Prince Claus Fund, UNICEF Lebanon, Goethe – Institut Libanon 
The Caravan project is co-funded by the European Union within the framework of the regional program Med Culture
#‎TheCaravan‬ ‪#‎theworldislistening‬ 
Follow us on Facebook: www.fb.com/thecaravanlb
Phase 2

Their Story in Their Own Voice

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After few weeks of workshops and days of recordings, we can say that so far, the experience has been energizing and confusing all at the same time. The daily interactions, sharing of stories, trust, laughter, tears…all of this has made us certain of the value of a project that creates these spaces for things to be spoken and shared. And the tagline that we chose, almost impulsively, “The World is Listening”, is the banner under which this space has been created. Our participants want the whole world to hear their stories.  Suddenly our role, as recorders and presenters, as the megaphone, becomes more than a simple digital or mechanical task. It is a creative challenge, one of listening to the language beneath the words, to empathizing with the hidden meaning which must so urgently be shared. To share someone’s story, you must first understand why it is so urgent to them.  What is the profound message underneath it?  What do they want the world to hear?  One person may talk of selling the family cow, and for them this could mean defeat, or it could mean rebirth. The facts alone do not make a story, and words alone do not carry a message. To understand a story you must understand the storyteller.  You must understand their deeply unique inner landscape, and the way in which each action, each event, affects it.

We know that the world does listen. However, journalists, politicians, artists, and even the people we interview in the camps, use the most powerful and gripping parts of the stories, in an attempt to understand and communicate them. How do we re-train ourselves to listen for new life, new meaning, new messages, and new understandings in this barrage of language?

Keep listening. Here are our first stories

“The Caravan” is a project that puts Syrian refugee voices from the Bekaa valley at the heart of a street theatre performance, literally, through the use of recorded storytelling audio. It is a project by Beirut DC, Sawa for Development and Aid, Clown Me In, Theatre Témoin co-funded by the European Union in Lebanon, Prince Claus Fund, UNICEF Lebanon, Goethe – Institut Libanon 
The Caravan project is co-funded by the European Union within the framework of the regional program Med Culture
#‎TheCaravan‬ ‪#‎theworldislistening‬ 
Follow us on Facebook: www.fb.com/thecaravanlb