Published: Friday, 2 July 2021

Oxford and Ramallah in Palestine will celebrate their twinning links with an online film screening this week.

The online screening – hosted by Mandala Theatre Company in Oxford and Ashtar Theatre in Ramallah, and pre-recorded at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Cowley Road on Friday (2 July).

It will begin with introductions from the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mark Lygo; Mayor of Ramallah, Musa Hadid; and the artistic directors of Mandala and Ashtar theatres.

This will be following by screenings of:

  • Mandala Theatre Company’s production of Blood Oil, written by Sean Burn and directed by Yasmin Sidhwa
  • Ashtar Theatre’s performance of The Brainwashers Conference, an adaptation of Turandot by Bertolt Brecht (in Arabic with English subtitles)

The event will end with a pre-recorded Q&A session with the artists involved in each film. Artists from Ashtar Theatre will join the conversation from Palestine.

To watch the event online, register on Eventbrite.

The screening is part of a wider theatre festival between Oxford and Palestine. The festival, Artivism, is funded by the British Council and hosted by Mandala Theatre Company and Ashtar Theatre. It will take place between 1 and 7 July.

The celebrations continue until 7 July and more information can be found on Mandala Theatre Company's website.

Oxford and Ramallah were officially twinned with the signing of a twinning agreement in Oxford Town Hall in March 2019.

Oxford’s twin cities

Oxford is now twinned with eight cities: Bonn in Germany, Grenoble in France, Leiden in The Netherlands, Padua in Italy, Wrocław in Poland, Perm in Russia, León in Nicaragua, and Ramallah in Palestine.

Twin city links give Oxford residents the chance to engage with other cultures and ways of life, and make these experiences more accessible through established contacts and networks in the linked cities. 

They also bring benefit to cities through knowledge-sharing activities, where people can learn from how problems are tackled in other countries, exchange ideas and understand different viewpoints.

“The Artivism Festival is a celebration of cultures and community – the very essence of what the twinning is designed to nurture. 

“The links between the cities of Ramallah and Oxford started before the twinning, and it was these links that led to the cementing of our relationship by officially having Ramallah twinned with Oxford. 

“The last 15 months have been incredibly difficult for the world with the pandemic but this has not stopped the exchanges between our cities.  Virtual events have taken place and three schools have been twinned. 

“This demonstrates that despite restrictions the will of the people of both cities to interact and create ever stronger bonds is undaunted.”

Councillor Mark Lygo, the Lord Mayor of Oxford

"Our relationship with Oxford is a special one since it’s based on our communities.

“This festival is a celebration of the ongoing connection that, although only dates back a short period, is already very dense.

“Together with the city of Oxford, we have managed to link our schools to enable students to exchange their experiences. We have also, despite a worldwide pandemic, succeeded in collaborating in many virtual festivals. 

“This shows how human bonds are stronger than any obstacle – be it viral or Israeli occupation.  Our exchanges reflect the quality of ties that bond both cities, demonstrating a human solidarity that exceeds borders."

Musa Hadid, Mayor of Ramallah

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