The Arab-Hebrew Theater
The Arab-Hebrew Theater is a multilingual theater located in the Old Saraya House in the Old City of Jaffa. It serves as a stage for two theater companies working independently and together in two languages: Hebrew and Arabic. The Hebrew company is "Teatron Mekomi (Local Theater)", which was established in 1990 by Yigal Ezrati and Gabi Eldor, and the Arab company is "Al-Saraya", which was established in 1998. The theater is partially funded by the Ministry of Culture and the Tel Aviv Municipality. The theater has three arts directors: Mohammad Bakri, Yigal Ezrati, and Gabi Eldor.
One Stage, Two Companies
The Arab-Hebrew Theater in Jaffa was established in 1998. The theater's purpose is to bring the two unique and conflict-troubled cultures together under the same roof through theater. The building was given to the two companies by the Tel Aviv Municipality. It underwent significant renovations due to the building’s advanced age, as well as its need for preservation and remodeling to suit a theater. The arts director of the Arab company is Adib Jahshan. Both companies conduct plays in Hebrew and Arabic together and independently. The theater provides opportunities for both groups to express their ethnic differences artistically on the same stage. From time to time, the two come together in order to discuss certain topics, but each company is self-managed.
The theater is funded by the Tel Aviv Municipality and the Ministry of Culture, thanks to the belief that a unique theater that integrates ethnicities and communities is meaningful and important despite any financial difficulties.
Unity of Opposites
The theater is known to be self-contradicting in several respects, for example, in its new and old ways of processing texts, its Arab and Jewish identities, its young and old actors, and its fusion between fringe, modern and traditional theater (e.g. Shakespeare). The theater has hosted several shows and events, including the international poetry festival Sha'ar, produced by the Helicon Foundation. From 2004 until 2008 Hanoch Levin's play, You, me, and the Next War, featured pianist Bart Berman, along with the original crew that performed in the production’s 1968 premier.