After two incredible weeks, our ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’ festival hosted by St James’s Church Piccadilly came to end on the 5th January and the replica WALL finally came down. Between December 23rd and January 5th, thousands came to see it and many came to write on it. The vast majority wrote messages of peace and solidarity while small number wrote in favour of the real separation wall. Messages were written in many languages and by British and international visitors alike.
The WALL also hosted film projections – including specially commissioned animated images by Treatment Studios; paintings by children from the Dar Al-Kalima School in Bethlehem (also exhibited inside St James’s); One World’s song ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and two video art pieces from internationally recognised Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour, Run Lara Run, Happy Days and A Space Exodus (for more of her extraordinary work, visit www.larissasansour.com)
The ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’ festival programme included a wonderful line up of artists across spoken word, comedy, film, cuisine, debate and music – Rafeef Ziadah, Harry Baker and Bridget Minamore; Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy and Dave Cohen; Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi; Jeff Halper and Leila Sansour; Adjoa Andoh and Yasmin Alibhai Brown; The Tallis Scholars and Nigel Kennedy – all performing to sell-out audiences. And inside St James’s Church we also had a mini-film programme of documentaries which included ‘Portrait of Bethlehem’ – photographs old and new from Planet Bethlehem Archive/Leila Sansour.
So, for all this, we send a HUGE thank-you to all the performers who took part and without whom we would not have had the wonderful two weeks that made up ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’.
And those performers and contributors would also join us in recognizing the courage and commitment of St. James’s Rector Lucy Winkett, the clergy, wardens, PCC, staff and congregation to hosting a project that was always going to be perceived (by some anyway) as a controversial one.
Tipping Point North South (of which TPFF is an activity) was proud to be a lead partner on ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’ – the brainchild of Tipping Point co-founder Justin Butcher. He pulled together an extraordinary team to make the event happen, from the WALL design and build team to the events programming and production management; from commissioning animation and film projections for the WALL to social media, press and PR. Together with everyone at St James’s, our wonderful production team forged close partnerships with our partner organisations including ICAHD, Amos Trust, Zaytoun and War on Want.
We’ve made a small selection of some of the reviews, articles and blogs about ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’. Meantime, our launch clip on the Bethlehem Unwrapped youtube channel continues to be viewed – up to 60k so far. Below are links to this as well as our specially commissioned ‘Wall’ projections. (Special thanks to our photographer Hannah Barton and Tom Pursey our film recordist).
Here is hoping that the Palestinian people will see progress, somehow, in this New Year 2014.
Deborah, Justin, Ho-Chih and Jen
Bethlehem Unwrapped is presented by St James’s Church, Piccadilly, in association with Amos Trust, Holy Land Trust, Interpal, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, P21 Gallery, Tipping Point North South, War on Want & Zaytoun CIC.
Tipping Point North South is a co-operative that supports and initiates creative, campaign-driven projects that advance the global social justice agenda, through its Film Fund and other activities.
- Church protest reveals realities of life in modern Bethlehem, Giles Fraser, The Guardian
- Peace and Goodwill for Bethlehem in London?, Kester Brewin, The Huffington Post UK
- Thousands visit Piccadilly Separation Wall, Madeleine Davies, Church Times
- Why There’s Suddenly a Wall Surrounding This Historic London Church, Beth Parry, PolicyMic
- One London church goes on the record with ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’, Marc H. Ellis, Mondoweiss
- London church blocks its facade with replica of Israeli wall around Bethlehem, Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada
- Metro Critics’ Choice – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi Bethlehem feast
- The Times’ and the Evening Standard’s Pick of the Day – Stand Up Against The Wall Comedy Night
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