Can Theatre Repair Damaged Urban Fabric? Toward a “Thick” Description of Haifa’s Wadi Salib Theatre Center

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This article explores roles of theatre as an urban cultural institution in Haifa’s politics, urban order, and spatial imagination—a “wounded city” (Till, 2012) infused with Jewish and Palestinian histories. The case study is the theatre center in Wadi Salib, founded in 1983 in a repurposed Palestinian building. The author proposes a theatre historiography of crises, dimming hopes, and even failure that temper the sense that theatre-makers can enact change, reconcile community wounds, and spark critical discourse. The article explores the theatre center through three spatial dimensions: the historic building and its location, the theatrical space, and then the repurposed Al-Pasha Complex building as a ruin. The author demonstrates how the center’s activity exposed both the wounded urban fabric and the theatre’s institutional inability, even when partly funded by the municipality and the state, to be an active, sustainable agent and partner in reconciliation and healing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-33
Number of pages23
JournalPamietnik Teatralny
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Institute of Art Polish Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Arabic
  • Jewish
  • Palestinian
  • Wadi Salib
  • municipal theatre
  • ruin
  • theatre in Israel
  • theatre in repurposed building

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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