Why I cancelled Obliterated - My Upcoming Play with Maxine Peake

My dear friends,

Obliterated is Cancelled. There was never a play or a show, I didn’t write it and Maxine never rehearsed it.

I am not sure whether I will be able to write or do theatre again. They took our theatre, and with it our play.

Not even a year ago, on 09 August 2018, Gaza's only theatre the Saeed Almishal Cultural Centre was bombed by Israeli warplanes and ripped to the ground in seconds.

A theatre turned to fire, rubble and dust. Expression lost to hate, for nothing sane.

I want to ask questions. Why is art so threatening? Who would find a theatre a danger enough for missiles? What's going to become of the creatives, actors, writers, directors and audiences now?

I cannot write, but I still want to protest, to make my voice heard, to highlight what happens when art and theatre are stolen away. Maxine and I want to invite you, the audience, the 2529 people who booked, to be part of this experience, to be angry at this injustice.

As a writer and theatre practitioner, I wanted to see how it feels to deny people access to this freedom.

I approached Maxine Peake, and together we created Obliterated to express our rage and for us all to participate in this experience of cultural theft. Here's what she has to say, in conversation with Palestinian poet Farah Chamma:

Please feel free to add your comments/response directly on the video.

I am not sure whether I will be ever do theatre again. I am not sure if I have been beaten down too far by cruelty. Maybe on a far-off day, this play will be born again. But for now, I would like to thank Maxine Peake and Amnesty International UK for supporting this creative response. And I want to thank you for being part of this protest, for getting my voice heard.

There's currently a separate campaign running to support the theatre, you can learn more about it here and pledge your support if you wish too.

To those who visited the Saeed Almishal Cultural Centre, please remember it. To those who didn’t, please imagine it.

Thank you and stay in touch.

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