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2016 Gramsci Prize to Zeina Daccache

Zeina Daccache, is the founder and director of Catharsis - Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy. She has a degree in Theatre Studies and is specialized in Clinical Psychology and Drama Therapy. She has worked on theatre projects focusing on marginality since 2006 in Lebanon and in the Middle East.

Zeina convinced the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior to promote theatre activities in Roumieh, Lebanon's largest prison, located just a few kilometres from Beirut. In the past overcrowding and inhumane conditions have led to repeated riots by prisoners (the facility can hold up to 2,000 people and hosts an average of 6,000).

In the play "Johar. Up in Air" the Company directed by Zeina Daccache tells the stories of inmates with mental disorders, confined to the worst cells in a separate block of the prison without treatment. She is the mindful promoter of a theatre approach that combines therapy to political change to overcome a prison system based mainly on security.

Practice on stage helped to "break the horrible prison routine, give mental relief, create solidarity between prisoners". Prisoners participating in Roumieh's theatre activities under the leadership of Zeina Daccache are currently engaged in promoting a bill of law to improve the living conditions of mentally ill prisoners.

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