As part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, the In-House Festival is a unique offer of intimate performances that take place in non-conventional spaces. The festival programme offers a richmix of site-inspired theatre that enables audiences to experience the city from different perspectives, hear untold stories and step far away from well-trodden cultural hubs.
In-House aims to 'hear the city’s heartbeat among abandoned structures, public institutions, hidden homes and forgotten spaces'. From the public library to Lifta, from listening parties to swing dancing, the work is always inspired by the site and probing away at artistic intervention in the public realm.
One of my 'top picks' from the festival was 'Sami's Mother' or 'Um Sami', the title named after our host and powerhouse of a woman who has initiated so many brilliant things for her community - including a 'Women's Cooking Collective' and first aid training.
We're invited into to her home (in a village called Sharafat) where we take part in a communal rolling ceremony - vine leaves that is, and listen to Um Sami talk about her life, values, dreams and passions with theatre director Hannah Vazana Greenwald.
The audience are loving her wisdom - especially her tips o keeping boudaries when it comes to childcare of grandchildren (something a lot of the audience members struggled with).
She is a natural-born educator and host and made us feel very at home.
(Above: We wash our hands before the show starts. Ummm... Minty fresh).
(Above: And we take off our shoes. I then decided to wash my feet as not to offend the other audience members).
(Above: As we listen to the stories we prepare vine leaves. Lots and lots of them. By the end of it, I feel like a pro).
(Above: Um Sami does a quick check for quality assurance. I have over-stuffed my vine leaves and am feeling vine-leaf-shaped-shame).
(Above: The edible results of the audience participation).
(Above: The audience enjoy a meal together).