Tea party for Gaza: Theatrical protest

Inspired by the sit-in, a group of theatre students, most of whom were participants in the “theatrical protest” outside the Library in Week 2, decided to hold an outdoors event.

They set up a tea party outside the main entrance to the Library showing their solidarity with the students in the room occupation and the victions of Gaza, as well as offering biscuits to passerbys.

A banner on the ground gave the time and location of the room occupation.

One of the main aims of this action was to “make it something approachable, accessible,” as explained by Cara Verkerk, an English and Theatre Studies student.

Driven by a wish to spread the message and to “look at the Gaza conflict in a humanitarian way” they decided to host this make shift tea party to highlight the freedom of students at this, and other UK, universities.

“Freedom is the small things we are allowed to do,” like setting up this event, said Caitlin McLeod, a Theatre and Performance Studies student.

In following with the action undertaken by the students involved in the sit in, McLeod, Verkerk and the other participants “wanted to explore [the act of] liberating spaces.”

They said that while most people did not stop, many took buscuits and a some did stop to speak to them about the conflict. Those who stopped were both people asking for more information and those challenging the group’s stance on the conflict.

The group wanted to look at the conflict from a different perspective, focusing on the “humanitarian” angle. Verkerk said they felt that many people are too “scared by the politics to express an opinion.”

However, the participants felt that this more “lighthearted” approach made it easier for people to ask questions. McLeod commented that “a lot of people smile…[they] seem to enjoy it.”

McLeod and Verkerk said the group would difinitely hold other events. When asked if theatre will still be an element Verkerk responded by saying “[its] a means to the end of raising awareness and inciting action.”

“Its a human way of doing it,” she added.

This kind of action “needs to happen,” said McLeod.

“[University] is where this kind of stuff should happen,” concluded Verkerk.


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