Theater as a form of expression in Maxmur

Sîrwan Kanat grew up in the Maxmur refugee camp and has been performing theater since childhood. For him, theater is an alternative to the problems and conflicts people face in the camp.

Some things are discovered in childhood and shape a person's future. Sîrwan Kanat experienced flight and displacement in his childhood. Today he is an actor and director in the theater. He says that he has always been magically attracted to the theater. Influenced by the painful experiences of his childhood, he now gives hope to many children through the theater.

Sîrwan Kanat was born in 1997 in the Etruş refugee camp and grew up in Maxmur. His parents fled from Turkey to southern Kurdistan. At the age of four, he was already imitating what he saw in his surroundings. These were his first steps towards his theater career, as he says: "My love for theater was born in my childhood, which I experienced in exile. In Maxmur, conditions were hard. We children were mostly outside together."

For Sîrwan, theater is a way of expression. "Imitating the people around me was a way to express myself in my childhood. Children are curious and want to understand and express their environment. Theater was like a language for me. I started theater at the age of seven at the Maxmur Cultural Center. My mother was very helpful, she set me on this path."

In 2016, the theater group Hêvî Yekta was founded in Maxmur. In addition, there is a theater community of students that performed its own play last year. In their plays, Sîrwan Kanat and his fellow actors address social problems and the reality of war in which they grew up. "Art enables people to understand themselves better. For us, theater is an alternative to the problems and conflicts we face," Sîrwan explains.

By 2017, Sîrwan had acted in ten plays. In the meantime, he also writes scenery and directs. Like all areas in Maxmur, the theater has to struggle with a lack of opportunities. There is no professional stage and the actors have problems finding suitable costumes. No one has any theater training, and the stage set is put together from materials that can be found in the camp. "We decorate the stage with fabrics we find at our place. Sometimes we secretly take clothes from our mothers' closets to wear as costumes on stage. The lack of funds is not an obstacle for us," says Sîrwan.