Formed in 2005 by two passionate friends, Ahmed Masoud and Ahmed Najar, Al Zaytouna’s mission is to promote Palestinian culture and to challenge perceptions of a nation so often associated with conflict in Western media. The troupe is comprised of volunteers from various national and professional backgrounds, who work tirelessly to provide diverse audiences with the opportunity to experience Palestinian culture and hear the Palestinian story through performances and workshops.
Al Zaytouna has a distinctive approach, fusing traditional Palestinian folk dance (dabke) with contemporary dance, theatre, poetry, music, and digital media to create inspiring pieces of dance theatre to tell powerful stories about Palestine, often focusing on identity and cultural resistance.
The troupe’s recent productions include Unto the Breach which debuted in London in 2012, and Between the Fleeting Words, which played in London and Slovenia in 2010, and in Switzerland and Germany in 2011. Earlier productions include Ila Haifa (Returning to Haifa) which played in London, Freiberg, Madrid and Newcastle (2008), Four Heartbeats, One Rhythm in Nottingham (2008), Leeds and Lincoln (2009), and Hassad Al Zaytouna (The Olive Harvest) in London (2007).
Al Zaytouna has collaborated with a number of distinguished artists, producing Palestine Dances Dabke at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London with Palestine’s leading dance company El Funoun (2007), and working with legendary singer Mohamed Diab from Al Ashaqeen on Ila Haifa (2008). Al Zaytouna has also collaborated many times with multi-talented singer and oud master Nizar Al-Issa, and recently teamed up with composer and guitarist David Randall from Faithless and Slovo, on Unto the Breach (2012).
The troupe also regularly performs at a range of cultural, social and charitable events across the UK.