Archive for the 'News' Category

Research Volunteers Needed for Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews

Are you curious? Are you well organised? Are you interested in undertaking research? Would you like to contribute to our project?

Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews delves into the heritage of the Sephardim who have settled in this country since the 17th century. A vital part of our project focuses on researching aspects of this exciting history. We will be looking into key political events of an English state turned upside down by Oliver Cromwell at a time of fervent religious debate.

Questions we will ask are what was it like to be a Sephardi Jew – secretly or openly – in a country that had known no Jews for centuries? What did the Jews find in England? What did the English make of the Jews who arrived? What did the Jews bring with them to the host society? What language did the Jews speak when they fled persecution by the Catholic Inquisition? And we need your help to find the answers.

We will explore how the Jewish communities, who trickled in to England, gradually led to their acceptance as citizens.  Elements of our research will be fed in to our site-specific performance One Lost Stone on 22 September at Novo Cemetery. Our discoveries will also inform our programme of educational workshops.

Our drama workshop at Bevis Marks Synagogue in February 2019 exploring the English history taught in many schools and the significant dates and events included in historical timelines.

Eight historical moments are key to our research:

  1. Historical antecedent: the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.
  2. The Sephardi exodus: expulsion and departure of Jews from Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15th century.
  3. The tiny community of secret Jews (crypto-Jews) in England during the 16th and earlier 17th centuries.
  4. The circumstances around the re-admittance of Jews in the 1650s.
  5. The slow growth of the Sephardi community following re-admittance, in the second half of the 17th century.
  6. The Jewish Naturalisation Act 1753, and its subsequent repeal.
  7. Sephardi Jews prominent in 19th century British society.
  8. The 20th century wave of ‘new’ Sephardi immigration.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to know more about this, please contact Stéphane Goldstein, at stephane@lostjews.org.uk.

Blueprint Medea by Julia Pascal, Finborough Theatre 21 May – 8 June 2019

The world premiere

Tuesday, 21 May – Saturday, 8 June 2019.

“If I am a virgin. If the enemy catch me. You know what they will do…”

Kurdish freedom fighter Medea escapes the Turkish military and arrives at UK Border Control on a forged passport. Slipping through immigration, Medea discovers how to exist on the margins of London life. Working illegally as a cleaner in a gym, she meets Jason-Mohammed, the son of Iraqi immigrants. Their attraction results in the birth of twin boys. Medea believes that she has finally found a new home, a new family and a new life.

But when Jason-Mohammed’s father decides that his son must marry Glauke, an Iraqi cousin, Medea realises that she will lose both her sons and her safe haven in the UK.

As her whole world falls apart, she is forced to accept that she has nothing to lose by revenging herself – destroying the lives who those who have betrayed her and keeping her sons’ spirits with her forever…

Based on interviews with Kurdish fighters living in the UK, and written and directed by the first woman ever to direct at the National Theatre, Blueprint Medea is an award-winning new drama loosely inspired by Euripides’ Medea, which connects the classical to the contemporary to explore eternal questions of passion, war, cultural identity, women’s freedom, sex, family and love.

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3.00pm.

Finborough Theatre
118 Finborough Road
London
SW10 9ED

Written and Directed by Julia Pascal

Designed by Kati Hind

Presented by Pascal Theatre Company in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

Click here for info and bookings >

Sponsored by

Actors : Amanda Maud, Ruth D’Silva, Tiran Aakel, Shaniaz Hama Ali, Max Rinehart.

Designer : Kati Hind.

Video & Photos : Yaron Lapid

Announcing Discovering and Documenting England’s Lost Jews

A word from Julia Pascal, Artistic Director of Pascal Theatre Company:

I am delighted to announce that Pascal Theatre Company has been successful in securing funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for our new project:

DISCOVERING AND DOCUMENTING ENGLAND’S LOST JEWS

I am a playwright and theatre director who is fascinated by how we view national and international narratives about ourselves and our family histories.

Sephardi Jewish couple from Sarajevo in traditional clothing. Photo taken in 1900.

Sephardi Jews left Spain and Portugal to find refuge around the Mediterranean basin, including in the Ottoman Empire. They settled and lived for centuries in the countries we now know as Morocco, Algeria, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia and Bulgaria. Most of them absorbed the local culture and lived with a double heritage.

Part of the excitement of our journey is learning about how these different waves of displacement influenced English life over the centuries and also today. This includes the experience of Jews who came from Arab countries where many lived peacefully alongside Muslims. As well as examining the Cromwellian and post Republican English history, the project will look at new immigrants – Jews arriving with elements of Arabic cultures in their histories.

I invite you to come with us.

There are many ways in which you can get involved:

On the 20th, 27th January and 3rd February we are running free morning drama workshops at Bevis Marks synagogue exploring three different aspects of Sephardi history and culture. The workshops include a tour of the synagogue. You can find out more information and book your tickets on our workshop page. Tickets are limited so book quickly.

We will also be looking for volunteers to help us document Sephardi oral histories and to participate in a site-specific public installation at the Novo Cemetery, London. This installation will be the premiere of a new work written by me and others involved in the initiative as a response to the stories and histories we’ve uncovered. Sign up to our mailing list to ensure you’re first with the news on how to get involved.

During our September installation, we are inviting four speakers to explore their varied experience of this little known history.

For more information visit our website: www.lostjews.org.uk, sign up to the mailing list, follow us on social media and through #LostJews, or contact Pascal Theatre Company on pascaltheatrecompany@gmail.com.

I look forward to sharing what we uncover.

Julia