The Etty Hilsom Israeli Youth Theater is a unique project – the first of its kind (founded in cooperation between Israel and France), which offers intensive training in various theater specializations to at-risk youth from all walks of life in Israel. The Theater operates in Anis auditorium in Dalet district of Jaffa. It’s main audience consists of youth at risk, jews, arabs, christians, wigrant Workers and asylum seekers.
Yad Rachel Educational & Therapeutic Centers operates a leading network of programs for children at-risk and their families throughout Israel to provide them with the tools they need to overcome their educational, emotional, and social difficulties, being able to grow up to the best of their abilities, to have a better future, and become contributing adults who integrate successfully into Israeli society.
Why theater? The language of art is a universal nonverbal language that is able to connect different cultures and social groups, to brake socio-economic barriers. It offers a person many different ways of self expression. The complex situation in Israel leads amongst many other problems to elimination of direct ways of communication, weakning of the sense of belonging, exclusion, alienation, interpersonal aggression. Regional escalation raises the level of anxiety in most of us, and even more – in youth and families at risk.
We believe that with the help of this tool, we will be able to bring our girls a change and help them live more satisfying, safe, value-laden, worthy, protected and just life. We chose to focus on a “Warm House” – a Center run by the Yad Rachel Foundation in cooperation with the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality. It is a a unique place that provides a solution for daughters of asylum seekers and migrant workers. They lack legal status in Israel. The girls come from different countries: Eritrea, Sudan, Ghana, Kenya and the Philippines. The group consists of 15 girls, grades 7-9 (ages 13-16). The girls will be exposed to a variety of theater specialties and will be able to specialize in accordance with their inclinations and abilities. They will experience a variety of workshops and classes and will perform at the end of the year in front of parents and guests. In the second stage of the program, the girls will be integrated into the existing theater groups. The activity will take place both at the Warm House itself (at the Rogozin School) and at the theater. The program will be carried out jointly by Yad Rachel’s inter-professional team and the Kol HaNoar Theater, led by Gal Horowitz, the theater’s founder and director, and funded by the Yahel Foundation.