Syrian Kurds hold theatre festival in Rojava amid war

The Kurdish region of Syria (known as Rojava in Kurdish) started the ceremony of the third round of Theatre Festival on Monday in the country's northeastern city of Qamishlo.

QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) - Amidst Syrian civil war, the Kurdish region of Syria (known as Rojava in Kurdish) is holding the third annual festival of theater March 27- April 4 in the country's northeastern city of Qamishlo.

In the past two years, the festival was held with the name "Kurdish Theatre Festival" but the word "Kurdish" was removed this year to respect the diversity of the region.

Speaking to Kurdistan24, Shero Hinde, an organizing committee member, said only Kurdish works of art were presented in the past two years, but the situation was different this year.

"This year many artists from other nationalities joined us, so we removed the word 'Kurdish' from the title," he said.     

"We want to make [the festival] inclusive and international so that every group presents their works in their own language," he added.

Hinde explained that including minorities in the festival meant "decorating this event with democracy and freedom."

Regarding the activities of the event, members of the organizing committee said 13 Drama crew were chosen out of dozens of groups that had signed up to participate in the festival.

"The groups will present their works in three cities of Jazira canton, including Qamishlo, Derik and Sere Kaniye (known as Ras al-Ayn in Arabic)," said Hinde.

The Theatre Festival has kicked off on March 27 March which is the World Theatre Day.

On the opening ceremony, the activities were launched with Kurdish songs and dances by Kurdish folkloric bands.

Organizing committee members said reports of their activities in the past two years were published on the website of the World Theatre Day.

"They were published in Kurdish, so Kurds anywhere can read them," said Abdulrahman Ibrahim, a theater director.   

The closing ceremony is to be held in Qamishlo on April 4.  

Amid the violence and the devastating civil war in Syria, many cultural activities are held every year in Rojava. These events include the Rojava Short Story Festival in June, Afrin Short Film Festival in April and Kurdish Language Day in May.

Additionally, Kurdish libraries and centers were created to provide social and artistic activities. The Nahawand Center for Developing Children’s Talents in the Kurdish city of Amuda was established last year, and Rodî û Perwîn library in Kobani in May.


(Additional reporting by Kurdistan24 correspondent Dilovan Cheto from Qamishlo)