Theater director: Take 'Israel' off my name on int'l festival program

Ofira Henig's Arabic-language 'manmaRo' project will be showing at the Festival of International New Drama in the Schaubühne theater in April.

March 30, 2016 05:37
1 minute read.
Temple Mount

Israeli flag and Temple Mount . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

A prominent Israeli theater director who is featuring a production at a Berlin festival requested that Israel not be listed in the program alongside her name.

Ofira Henig, whose Arabic-language manmaRo project will be showing at the Festival of International New Drama in the Schaubühne theater in April, requested instead that just her city of residence, Haifa, be listed.

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In response to a query as to why Israel was not listed, Henig wrote to a director of Schaubühne explaining that her method of self-identification was meant to express her freedom of choice and not to reject the State of Israel.

Henig said there are many elements to identity and that she and co-producer Khalifa Natour “choose our identity out of state context,” adding “we have so many elements in our identity.”

She said the decision was also based on their undertaking not to take government funding for the project.

“We, the artistic team, decided not to be subsidized by any government money. We want to be free from all sides… It is not about denying the State of Israel, it is about the freedom of choosing, and a free independent mind is not obviously contradict to the State of Israel [sic]. Isn’t it?” Henig was one of 150 actors, playwrights, directors and other artists who in 2010 issued a letter to prominent Israeli theaters stating they would not perform in Ariel or any other settlement.

Henig says she was dismissed from her position as head of the Herzliya Theater Ensemble in 2011, although the board of the theater said it fired her due to the lack of commercial success of her productions.

Until 2014, Henig worked in conjunction with the Haifa theater, which is supported by the Culture Ministry, but has since ceased working at this venue as well.

Henig could not be contacted directly for comment.

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