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Haneen, who has spent most of her life in orphanages, says she used to stay weeks locked up in herself, aimlessly eating, watching TV and sleeping through each day.Last week, the 13-year-old Iraqi girl was beaming with joy and excitement when the crowd at a Baghdad theater gave her and her friends a rousing round of applause. The play at the Theater Forum, an edgy arts center that opened in a beautiful old building on the banks of the Tigris, was the culmination of a monthslong program.Catharsis, a drama therapy centre in Beirut run by director Zeina Daccache – known for her work with prisoners, the insane and migrant workers in Lebanon – trained six theater professionals. The young troupe also took a swipe at politicians and echoed the despair that is driving the youth out of Iraq and to Europe, drawing hearty laughter and a few embarrassed chuckles from the crowd.
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