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The Hands Up Project

Adrian Underhill

On 6th October 2020, Adrian Underhill spoke at a joint meeting of Hastings against War and Hastings & Rother Interfaith Forum on the Hands Up project in Gaza where schools are ill-equipped, prospects are bleak, and kids can feel the whole world has abandoned them.

In Adrian's own words -

I live in Hastings and work as a trainer of teachers of English Language. For many years I have visited and worked with teachers in Gaza and The West Bank, and became involved with the Hands Up Project.

Last year I went to Gaza to help take a group of fifteen 9 to 11 yr old Gaza school kids and their three teachers out of Gaza (the first time in their lives) and into The West Bank to perform their prize winning mini plays in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jenin.

In this talk illustrated with my photos I will tell you about the kids and teachers I met in Gaza, share video excerpts from their deeply touching mini-plays, and tell you about the Hands up Project and how anyone can get involved in real time online school classes in Gaza. I will show you many other things including the infamous Wall, and answer questions.

The mini plays offer a dramatic and deeply touching kids-eye-view of life and conditions in Gaza today. They use the rules of Remote Theatre - max 5 minutes, max 5 performers, written by the kids, in English with teachers' help, and filmed in one take on a mobile, no accessories, no editing. There are now over 200 such mini plays on the Hands Up playlist.

The Hands Up Project was started a few years ago by my friend Nick Bilbrough. It offers Gazan kids a powerful way to make direct online video contact with same age classes in the rest of the world, to talk about their lives, tell stories, find out about others, and to do it in English which they see as a valuable entry to the international community.

The kids soon started dramatizing their own stories and performing them live, and the Remote Theatre Project was born. This is where I got involved, and what my talk is about.

If you would like to take this further, (one local family has already done so!), Adrian would be happy to hear from you at adrian@aunderhill.co.uk

Meanwhile he invites us to share the following links - These are the plays which Adrian showed us during his talk - Live Your Life was performed remotely at a conference in Croatia last year. This is what happened after the performance.

If there had been time Adrian would also have shown It's your choice.