Al Balad theatre is a multi-purpose artistic and community space established by renovating an old cinema house in down town Amman built in the 1948’s. It is registered as a non-profit company with a 12 member board from Jordan. There are 4 full time staff members and 1 part time in addition to over 30 volunteers. The theatre's annual budget is around $150,000 aside from infrastructure investments and costs (renovation, equipment, etc...). Sources of funding are: the Swedish International development Agency (through the Drama Institute in Stockholm), The Amman municipality, Zein telecom. company, The Swiss Development Agency, the UNESCO, the French Cultural Center, the Anna Lindh Foundation (through partnership). The theatre organizes artistic and cultural performances, training workshops, seminars, and exhibitions all year round for Jordanian artists, organizations as well as regional and international. The theatre partners with several Jordanian cultural centers/organizations whether governmental or non-governmental, Jordanian or European. The theatre also has several partners around the Arab world such as the Arab Theatre Training Center (Lebanon), Al jana (Lebanon) Yabous (Palestine), The Popular Art Center (Palestine). The theatre is also a member of the network of spaces that present Arab Cinema in the mediterranean and a member of the Hakaya network around the mediterranean to reclaim the centrality of stories in learning, art and life.
The space aims to promote young artists from Jordan and the region by presenting their works, providing rehearsal space, and contributing to strengthening the cultural movement in Jordan through interaction and cooperation with all performing art groups, NGOs, and individuals, public and private, in Jordan, the region, and the world. Al Balad theatre organizes theatre, dance, and music performances as well as film and video screenings in cooperation with local, regional, and international groups and organizations. The theatre also hosts training workshops in the performing arts. As a multi-purpose space located in a neglected area of Amman, Al Balad theatre also caters for children’s artistic activities.The objectives of the theatre are: 1. Provide new performance spaces for various contemporary arts (theatre, dance, cinema, music, visual arts) to host Jordanian, Arab, and international artists. 2. Develop the relationship with the community through the establishment of a multi-purpose cultural center. 3. Provide spaces for rehearsals and workshops for young artists. 4. Open new channels of communication and cooperation with various art organizations in the Arab world and abroad through the presentation of performances from different countries all year round. 5. Provide a space for young artists to present their artistic work and experimentation in the field of theatre, dance, and music. 6. Provide specialized programs for children.
The theatre's main activities are presentations of performing arts in music, theatre, dance, and storytelling as well as providing a rehearsal space for young artists and groups. The theatre also organizes a storytelling festival on an annual basis, a music festival in the summer, and a film festival in the fall. We are also currently developing a contemporary dance program that will provide a rehearsal space and co-production possibilities for Jordanian contemporary dancers. In 2008 the theatre space was active 175 days (in addition to 12 days of events organized by the theatre in other venues in Amman and two weeks of the workshop of Jane Freire to prepare for her exhibition “return of the soul” which was presented for 3 months at the Darat al Funoon exhibition hall in Amman). Events attended by an audience totaled 98 days, with a total audience (with the exception of Jane Freire’s exhibition) of 11,716. The theatre mailing list increased from a little over 1000 at the end of 2007 to over 1800 at the end of 2008. During the 98 days of performances and film screenings, 75% of the events were full house, and in 2 events we had to schedule a second and third showing. In terms of the identity of the performing groups and artists, 54% were Jordanian artists, 23% Arab and 23% International. Out of these events, 22% were organized by the theatre, and 78% hosted by the theatre.