Step forward, Jihan Rezeqallah!
Although Stage Management student Jihan may be Palestine’s first female stage manager to be awarded a diploma, she’s not stopping there:
“My dream is to stage manage the awards ceremony for the Grammys and the Oscars in the United States.
So, although I have experience in stage managing I want to concentrate on Event Management.
I really liked this course straight away because it’s so practical and hands-on. I don’t want to sit in a classroom learning about it, I want to be getting on and doing it!”
Jihan joined the College this term to study an MA in Stage and Event Management.
She brings with her a huge range of experience of stage managing across the world.
After gaining her diploma at Palestine’s Performing Arts Training Centre she has worked in theatre, puppet making, costume making, working locally and internationally.
She travelled across Europe and Asia, most recently as a technician for an Argentian circus, before this she worked in Japan as assistant stage manager and technician for a show from the Netherlands. In June she was back home working on a play about honour killing with Al Harah theatre, where she worked on a freelance basis.
“For me, being here at Royal Welsh College is a dream.
It’s so cool and everyone has been so welcoming, from admissions right through to my teachers. It’s a really great support system here and I feel really wanted and nurtured.”
Last week Jihan went for a visit to see behind the scenes at London’s Royal Court Theatre where they’re currently performing A History of the Water in the Middle East by British Egyptian Sabrina Mahfouz.
“Visiting the Royal Court was beyond exciting! Everyone was very welcoming and super lovely.
They showed me around the theatre and I got to see and work with some of the equipment as well.
I learned so much and got lots of advice on how to be a professional Stage Manager. I’m so thankful to them for inviting me on this wonderful journey, and will make sure I use this experience going forward. “
At the moment she’s working on Arcadia in the next season of Richard Burton Company productions, and will then be working on large-scale events at the College as well as external placements.
The Al Harah Theatre in Jihan’s home town of Bethlehem, was created in 2005 to take compelling stories to audiences in Palestine. It has partnerships across the world, including the UK.
With no regular income for running costs and with the development of the performing arts neglected due to political and economic situation, training as a theatre professional there has brought with it many extra challenges.
Al Harah set up Performing Arts Training Centre in 2014 to offer training in everything from stage management to lighting and sound design to offer potential to sustain new growth in the creative life of Palestine.
Jihan is very grateful for the support from Bad Wolf and Mary Webber Scholarship as well as funding from director Phyllida Lloyd and friends and family.