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Human Rights Play To Perform In Doha In Aid Of Reach Out To Asia Charity Drive

Doha, QATAR – A “one-night-only” performance of Ariel Dorfman’s play Speak Truth to Power: Voices From Beyond the Dark – celebrating human rights defenders from around the world – is to be presented by Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) as part of the run-up to their 2nd Gala Dinner charity event.

As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, Al Jazeera Network has partnered with ROTA in bringing this much-acclaimed play to the Middle East for the first time.

Speak Truth to Power: Voices From Beyond the Dark", is a theatrical production written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and novelist Ariel Dorfman. It was adapted from a book written by veteran human rights advocate Kerry Kennedy and is based on inspiring interviews and stories of courage gathered over a two-year period by Ms Kennedy.

It chronicles the struggles of 51 activists, including the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, Helen Prejean, and many other lesser known people who have been championing human rights the world over.

Actors portraying these individual human rights defenders tell their stories of torture and despair, of agony and hope, and of overcoming overwhelming odds against authoritarian rulers.

The play has been performed at theatres across America and around the world, including Geneva, London, Helsinki, Athens, Madrid, Rome, and Sydney but the production in Qatar will be the first ever time it has been performed in Arabic (with live translation available in English and French).

The cast list is a Who’s Who of Arabic actors and actresses including Safia Al Emari, Kathem Al Saher, Carmen Lebbos, Lotfi Boshnaq, Khalid Al Sheikh, Suad Al Abdullah, Raghda, Mahmoud Yaseen, Jamal Slaiman, Saad Al Kharji, and Qatar’s Ghanim Al Sulaiti. The play is directed by Lebanon’s Raif Karam.

When the curtain rises at Qatar National Theatre on November 2 at 8pm, seated in the audience will be at least 12 of the activists featured in the play, as well as its creators – Ariel Dorfman, Kerry Kennedy and the book’s editor, Nan Richardson.

The evening will commence with the exclusive performance of a song by Kathem Al Saher as a tribute to the children of his home country, Iraq.

An exhibition of powerful photographs taken by the late Eddie Adams will accompany the play and be on display for the next two months. Adams was a renowned photojournalist and the recipient of over 500 awards in photography, including the Pulitzer Prize for his picture of a Saigon police chief's assassination of a Vietcong prisoner, taken during the Vietnam War.

The forthcoming Reach Out To Asia star-studded charity Gala Dinner will attract well-known names from across the entertainment, sporting, political and social world. It takes place at The Ritz-Carlton Doha on November 4, featuring full red-carpet Hollywood-style arrival of guests under the full glare of the international media.

The Reach Out To Asia Gala Dinner is being held under the auspices of The Heir Apparent, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Reach Out To Asia, a non-government organisation based in Qatar, is chaired by his sister, Her Excellency Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Doha-based Qatar Foundation, together with national airline Qatar Airways and the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC), teamed up in 2005 to launch Reach Out To Asia, a relief campaign to help the underprivileged across the Middle East and Asia. With just weeks to go before Qatar stages the 15th Asian Games in Doha, this year’s Reach Out To Asia charity dinner will further help turn the global spotlight on Qatar.

To donate to the Reach Out To Asia fund-raising drive, pledges can be made to the following account:-

Qatar National Bank, Doha, Qatar
Account: Reach Out To Asia
Account Number: 0035-004919-001

Funds raised from last year’s Gala Dinner, which attracted celebrated names such as former US President Bill Clinton and business tycoon Sir Richard Branson, went towards helping victims of the 2004 tsunami in south-east Asia and the devastating earthquake 12 months ago that rocked Pakistan, killing more than 70,000 people.

Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com

Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com

Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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