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Four clowns fit into a picture frame

Palestine 2019

“Ahmad and I are about as opposite as it gets. He’s an Islamic Palestinian who grew up in a refugee camp. I’m an American Jew from California.

This inherited privilege plays out in so many ways. Of particular relevance? As a Jewish person I have an Israeli government-issued “right to return,” a right to immigrate to Israel. In other words, I have the right to literally move into the very land that Ahmad’s family was displaced from and forbidden to return to.”

– Poki McCorkle, performing artist

Tour Overview

CWB returned to Palestine in March, 2019. The team will spent one week leading workshops for Palestinian artists (adult and youth) and one week performing. The workshops offered training specific to Palestinian artists. The performance tour offered levity and moments of joy for those living in protracted displacement.

Tour Context

Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are an example of people experiencing protracted displacement. Reaching back to the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, displacement touches generations of Palestinians. CWB previously performed in Palestine in 2013.

Tour Partners

CWB partnered with Diyar Theatre, a Bethlehem-based dance theatre. Rami Khader, Director of Diyar Theatre, invited Clowns Without Borders to collaborate after the Bethlehem International Performing Arts Festival. The goal of the tour is to spark levity in communities that are accustomed to living behind walls.

The Team

This tour featured a four-person performance team, including two Palestinian and two American clowns. Rami Khader, the director of Diyar Theatre, was the non-performing team member. CWB was delighted to work with Osama Awwad, from Beit Sahour, and Ahmad Ghaib from Dheisha Refugee Camp, for the first time.

CWB welcomed Ania Upstill on their first tour. Ania is a NYC-based theatre-maker and graduate of the Professional Training Program at Dell’Arte School of Physical Theater.

Matthew “Poki” McCorkle performed with CWB in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Poki teaches, directs, and performs circus and physical theater.


The Sanders Foundation partially supported this tour with a project grant.

CWB – USA follows United Nations naming conventions for all countries, nations, and territories, along with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To read more about our Code of Ethics, click here

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