Objectified, derided, demeaned: sexism is still rampant on stage in the era of #MeToo Arifa Akbar

Objectified, derided, demeaned: sexism is still rampant on stage in the era of #MeToo | Theatre | The Guardian

This article, shows how little establishment attitudes have changed towards the representation of women in theatre. One step forward two steps back. Why is theatre programming mainly stuck in a 1950s mindset?     

Julia Pascal 

Objectified, derided, demeaned: sexism is still rampant on stage in the era of #MeToo    Arifa Akbar

World Autism Awareness week 29 March-4 April

Everyone’s experience of having a family member or friend with autism is different but the common denominator in 2022 is that there are real opportunities and options for both neurotypical and non -neurotypical individuals. There are so many possibilities today as I know from personal experience. A young person with autism, who leaves school with few GCSE’s, can live independently. This could mean become a Teaching Assistant in a school for special needs, earning money and paying taxes. The importance of a diagnosis of autism can be unbelievably helpful to the individual for several reasons. It helps people with autism (and their families) understand why they may experience certain difficulties and what can be done about them.  It also – and this is really important – means that we can help others to understand and increase autism- awareness. We should share our stories, reach out to friends, and those we don’t know, to encourage and show others that together we can celebrate our differences and achievements.

Hear Oscar talking about living with a non-verbal disability. Spectrum – Pascal Theatre Company (pascal-theatre.com)

Susannah Kraft

World Autism Awareness week 29 March-4 April

World Theatre Day

Theatre and storytelling is in our DNA. We crave stories, we want to be excited, shocked, bewildered and stimulated.

Theatre is the thrill of the live performance, the buzz that cannot be found onscreen. And, we are told as writers that all drama must have conflict. 

Football is theatre. Monarchy is theatre. Bodies are cut in the operating theatre. Combat is a theatre of war. All these elements are part of our lives and, in the West, we say it is the Greeks who have formed the essence of theatre that is still our source.

Here is my take on a contemporary Medea, a Kurdish refugee on the London streets. It was produced at the Finborough Theatre in 2019.  

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World Theatre Day

Neurodivergent Awareness Week : Lennie Varvarides from Dyspla interviewed by Ronnie Krupa

Lennie Varvarides from Dyspla interviewed by Ronnie Krupa for Pascal Theatre Company for Neurodivergent Awareness Week

How did you first get involved with performing arts?

When you say first — how far back do you really want me to go? I can go back — way back to my first memory of being in front of people singing, ‘I’m A Little Teapot’, with all the other children in nursery school. It was my first theatrical experience — being in front of people and sharing something of myself. Our first memories inform us in profound ways. My 5-year-old self is not that different from this adult me. I still want to be part of a collective — a community of performers and makers and artists.

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Neurodivergent Awareness Week : Lennie Varvarides from Dyspla interviewed by Ronnie Krupa

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – continuing the debate: WOMEN’S ACHIEVEMENTS

 In the dojo, when I had a man down on the mat, all I could feel was the kitchen chef’s burn-marked hands crawling all over me, his gold signet ring, cold against my neck. Now when I looked down at DCI Jones there was no ring pressing into my skin. The policeman slapped the mat. It was over. I had won. This was gold. Pure gold.      Clare

I train with other girls. The Turks are coming. We must be ready. The Turks take us. I go to prison for two weeks. I am 12. When I come home from prison my mother says I saw youWhat happened? I say nothing. I feed the bird. I kiss her new baby………..One year in Iran. Recruiting girls to the Kurdish side. I go to Armenia. Six months in Erevan. I am fighting for us Kurds. Iraq, Syria, Turkey.   Deniz 

Read stories of women’s achievements:  Giving Voice – Pascal Theatre Company (pascal-theatre.com)

Follow our questions and answers:  

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – continuing the debate: WOMEN’S ACHIEVEMENTS

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY continuing the debate:

WOMEN WHO’VE INFLUENCED YOU 

Greta Thunberg.  It’s not just a woman, it’s also a very young woman, and she has inspired me so much, a very young individual that can teach the world to be better and to fight for the planet. E (f 11)

Martha Gellhorn was a big influence on me, as a literary figure, as a brave woman, she was a war journalist, American living in Britain. Loud mouth, spoken mind. J (f 70s)

My mum.  She was working from when she left university and she was in a mostly male-dominated field, and she did really well and she’s still doing really well. D (f 12)

Women who have had authority and I noticed their justice – being just rather than to take the side of one or another. Al (m 83)

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY continuing the debate:

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 8 MARCH 2022

But surely Adam cannot be excused,

Her fault though great, yet he was most to blame;

What Weakness offered, Strength might have refused,

Being Lord of all, the greater was his shame: 

Although the Serpent’s craft had her abused,

God’s holy word ought all his actions frame,

    For he was Lord and King of all the earth,

    Before poore Eve had either life or breath

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY  8 MARCH 2022

Sephardi Iberian Heritage

After Brexit many British Jews discovered that they were entitled to Portuguese and Spanish citizenship as a result of the 15th century expulsions.

Losing EU citizenship awoke old fears of exile and dispossession. Consequently, they went in search of a culture and country where they had deep roots.

On 27 February 2015 Portugal allowed naturalization of descendants of Sephardi Jews.

On 24 June 2015 Spain allowed naturalization of descendents of Sephardi Jews.

Read more about Sephardi Iberian Heritage: Sephardi Iberian Heritage – One Lost Stone (lostjews.org.uk)

and their persecution, Inquisition & Expulsion: Persecution, Inquisition & Expulsion – One Lost Stone (lostjews.org.uk)

Sephardi Iberian Heritage

Zein oder nit Zein

Hitler killed thousands of Jews who spoke Yiddish.But the language refuses to die.This is Lesley Lightfoot, whose grandparents spoke Yiddish, making Shakespeare a Yiddishist!

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Zein oder nit Zein

INTERNATIONAL MOTHER TONGUE LANGUAGE DAY 21 FEBRUARY

LOST FOR WORDS: QUIZ

English is often said to have the largest vocabulary, but do you sometimes struggle to find the right word?  Can you find what you want to say in another language?  Perhaps we can help you fill some blanks in your English dictionary.  Take our quiz and find out how multi-lingual you are or add to your vocabulary.  We would like to mark International Mother Tongue Day recognising the richness of languages around us.

1) What do you think:

a)‘talkoot’  means  i) to talk a lot   ii) is an animal like an antelope iii) means people helping with spring cleaning?

‘talkoot’ is  i) a Finnish word   ii) a Scottish word  iii) an olde English word

2) What is your mood today – Is it positive or negative? Are you:

a) ‘Eho kefi’                    b) ‘Muterseelenallein’        c) fighting yourInnerer Schweinehund’

or do you have

d) a ‘hiraeth’ for something

e) or ‘Fernweh’

3) animals suffer from the way we treat them in language   

Which animal is used in the expression ‘Kurczę blade’ (Oh blimey)?

4) What language and the meaning?                                               

‘Mă duc ca să am de unde să mă intorc’

‘prinést modré nebe’

‘Boka cerrada no entran moskas’   

5) When we asked for contributions for our quiz, we are sure can guess the topic that was most popular!

Food, of course, but what ,when and where would you eat:    

  1. ‘En mad’
  2. ‘Natmad’

Answers here :

Hear more about Ladino:  https://www.lostjews.org.uk/oneloststone/history/strangers-at-home/

INTERNATIONAL MOTHER TONGUE LANGUAGE DAY 21 FEBRUARY

Licoricia of Winchester

An English history you never learned in school.

She was a successful businesswoman.

She lent money to the king of England.

She was murdered and nobody knows who did it.

Licoricia of Winchester, find out more.   Jews in Medieval England – One Lost Stone (lostjews.org.uk)

Today HRH The Prince of Wales will be unveiling the statue of Licoricia outside Winchester Arc, in Jewry Street.  Learn more about the Licoricia project: www.licoricia.org.uk

Licoricia of Winchester

Pascal Theatre Company Newsletter January 2022

Read our latest newsletter

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Pascal Theatre Company Newsletter January 2022

Roma and Sinti People

“Europe’s Roma and Sinti people (often labelled as ‘Gypsies’ historically) were targeted by the Nazis for total destruction. The Porrajmos, or Porajmos, which translates to ‘the Devouring’, is the term used to describe the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Roma and Sinti population.”

Read more here

Holocaust Memorial Day 2022

Roma and Sinti People

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 27 JANUARY – RECORDING FROM RUTH’S MEMORIES

Ruth Posner’s Memories

Ruth Posner’s memories of being ripped from a happy childhood and forced into the Warsaw Ghetto show where antisemitism leads.

The rise of antisemitism in our society must be challenged.

We must not allow the blood libel or conspiracy theories rooted in English Literature to permeate our culture.

One woman’s voice says it all.

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HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 27 JANUARY – RECORDING FROM RUTH’S MEMORIES

THE CORRIDOR OF LIGHT

Holocaust Memorial Day 2022

Here are the final moments of our production of The Dybbuk

You can kill a people but you can never kill their culture.

The ghosts remain to haunt the next generations.

I know it sounds strange but I am haunted by faces, different accents, different bodies, all the lost cousins and aunts and uncles who I want to have known. I see a blonde woman, a dark man, a curly redhead, a fair boy. I don’t know who they are but they often come to me in dreams. They say that a person can be filled with the soul of another and that soul, which has died too early, is a dybbuk, but I, I, I, have so many dybbuks.

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THE CORRIDOR OF LIGHT

Where was the Joan of Arc to stop the Holocaust of Black and Jew?

Reader: Samantha Pearl 

I am a saint because I saved France from the English. But a real saint, a saint worthy of the name, would have stood at the ramp as the trains arrived, as the orchestra played Strauss.

A real saint would have shouted ‘get away, take their guns and kill them because they are already digging the pits for your bodies.’

A real saint would have stood on the African shore and sunk the boats waiting to steal the people from their land.

Where was the Joan of Arc to stop the Holocaust of Black and Jew?

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Where was the Joan of Arc to stop the Holocaust of Black and Jew?

How can theatre bear testimony to the annihilation of a people?

Holocaust Memorial Day 27th January 2022

Pascal Theatre Company has produced plays sourced by living testimony to commemorate a vibrant culture, language and history that was mostly destroyed in the Shoah.

Our refusal to remain silent has constructed a legacy of testimony from survivors and their children.

Continue reading “How can theatre bear testimony to the annihilation of a people?”
How can theatre bear testimony to the annihilation of a people?

Congratulations to our long term team member, actor-dancer Ruth Posner for her British Empire Medal in the 2022 New Year’s Honours List.

Ruth’s  services to the Holocaust Memorial Trust are recognised by the government.
We honour her for her courage, her curiosity, intelligence and huge contribution to Pascal Theatre Company. 
As a performer with our ensemble, she has delighted audiences in Britain, Germany, Austria and France.
Most recently she has been talking to children in schools about her childhood escape from the Warsaw Ghetto.Testimony is a powerful weapon against hatred.We are proud that she is a Board member and offer mazel tov!

Continue reading “Congratulations to our long term team member, actor-dancer Ruth Posner for her British Empire Medal in the 2022 New Year’s Honours List.”
Congratulations to our long term team member, actor-dancer Ruth Posner for her British Empire Medal in the 2022 New Year’s Honours List.

The Whitehall Conference

Julia Pascal

Jews returned to England in 1656 after the Whitehall Conference-right?

This cancelled the royal expulsion of Jews from England in 1290-right?

Wrong on both counts.

In December 1656, Oliver Cromwell called The Whitehall Conference to request Jewish return but few parliamentarians or merchants in Christian England wanted the Jews back.

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The Whitehall Conference

Kate Barazetti

d 28 September 2021

It is with great sadness that we report the death of  Pascal Theatre Company’s former Financial Director Kate Barazetti. Kate served the company for many years, using her phenomenal skill with numbers to help an enterprise she supported – something she also did for City Limits magazine, the Africa Centre, International PEN, Space Studios and many others.

More than simply an accountant, she was a great humanitarian whose gift for friendship and hospitality spanned generational and social divides. She was fearless, forthright and funny, always finding ways to play the system and fight for the rights of those excluded or badly served by it. 

Having left school at 16, Kate learnt book-keeping at an early age. She finally completed her education by doing a degree and master’s in gender studies at London’s Birkbeck University in her fifties. She went on to set up the feminist news website Aviva from her front room. She later found her métier as a teacher, first teaching English to newly arrived refugees and then working on access to social science courses. She continued teaching – and working as an accountant – well into her seventies.

She is survived by two children, four grandchildren, her brother Nick, sister Annie, countless friends, former colleagues and grateful students. See more at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/nov/01/kate-barazetti-obituary

Kate Barazetti, 8 September 1942-20 September 2021

By Alix Lee

Kate Barazetti

Mayowa Olowoselu interviewed by Ronnie Krupa for Black History Month

What does Black History Month mean for you? Is it tokenism? 

I’m very interested in black history. I had a lot of questions. I’m Nigerian so everything I knew about being black was related to being Nigerian. The older I got the more people I was meeting who had similar stories but in different contexts. Black history month is the chance to learn all of these stories and how they connect and also I just love history and I just like to know how things developed, how we got here. So, I don’t think black history month is tokenism. It’s significant to look at how things change and where we are now. 

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Mayowa Olowoselu interviewed by Ronnie Krupa for Black History Month

Elizabeth Pearl from South Sudan Women’s Association interviewed by Mayowa Olowoselu for Black History Month

My interview with EA was really insightful. It was wonderful to learn about how her charity has positively impacted her community for years. I learned so much about the South Sudan Women’s Association and I look forward to hearing about their future projects.

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Elizabeth Pearl from South Sudan Women’s Association interviewed by Mayowa Olowoselu for Black History Month

PASCAL THEATRE COMPANY is proud to announce a £43,500 award from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

PRESS RELEASE

PASCAL THEATRE COMPANY is among 925 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund.

We are pleased that the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund permits us to sustain our activities as we extend multidisciplinary arts projects  to new communities and audiences in London and North West England.

Director Julia Pascal says  

We are delighted with the grant. It acknowledges our recent work which includes new communities within imaginative arts projects in unusual spaces. We gather stories from the marginalised and reveal them through text, film, drama and dance.

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PASCAL THEATRE COMPANY is proud to announce a £43,500 award from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Samantha Pearl interviewed by Mayowa Olowoselu for Black History Month

I had a great conversation with actress Samantha Pearl, on a grey afternoon over the phone. The conversation flowed easily and was a wonderful chance to hear about the perspective of a black woman in the film and tv industry. I learned so much from her and I hope you enjoy our conversation. Thank you so much to Samantha for speaking to me, make sure you check out her latest appearance on Ghosts by BBC. 

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Samantha Pearl interviewed by Mayowa Olowoselu for Black History Month

DANCING, TALKING, TABOO – Review

In 2020, Pascal Theatre Company (PTC) put a call out to women whose lives, and mental and physical health had been disrupted by Covid and the enforced isolation of lockdown. Respondents were offered a platform to express their feelings, plus the opportunity to work with expert theatre and literary practitioners to explore and develop their ideas.

The result was the Giving Voice project (www.pascal-theatre.com/project/giving-voice), a digital archive featuring work by 38 women in written and recorded form.

Forward a year and the ever-resourceful Creative Director of PTC, Julia Pascal, found a way to extend the reach of the project – by collaborating with students from The London Contemporary Dance School at The Place Theatre and professional performers to create a promenade performance piece for the 2021 Bloomsbury Festival based on several of the Giving Voice submissions.

An immersive improvisation/rehearsal process explored the imaginative connections between dance, speech and memory, interweaving song, bodywork and cabaret-style performance to share the hidden stories brought to light by the project.

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DANCING, TALKING, TABOO – Review

Charlotte Salomon

by HANNAH ARNAUD

Murdered 10 October 1943 at the age of 26.

Charlotte Salomon, born in 1917 Berlin to a Jewish family, is best known for Leben? Oder Theater?: Ein Singspiel (Life? Or Theatre?: A Song-Play). An early example of the graphic novel form, it is a series of images accompanied by text and music cues that tells a semi-fictionalised account of Salomon’s life. 

When Salomon was nine, her mother committed suicide. Charlotte was told that she had died from influenza. It wasn’t until 1938, when Salomon had been sent from Nazi Germany to live with her grandparents in the South of France, that her grandfather told her the truth.  She was also told about multiple other female members of the family who had killed themselves.

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Charlotte Salomon

One Lost Stone A Refection

by Hannah Arnaud

Click onto the One Lost Stone website, a ‘digital travel guide’ to the history of Sephardi Jews in England, and you are brought to a collage of photographs suggesting a face.  Although the fragments share a colour palette, the image fractures. Its refusal to meld into one coherent picture is why collage is a particularly apt medium for the website’s aesthetic. It militates against the ‘melting pot’ philosophy which requires the immigrant to adopt the cultural norms of the host society. 

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One Lost Stone A Refection

AGS IRWIN 26 April 1949 to 6 May 2021

AGS IRWIN

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Ags Irwin who was a great inspiration to the Company. At the end of her life, she generously contributed to our Giving Voice project, see more here.

We now wish to add a poem written during Covid, her bitter-sweet Lockdown Pie . She wrote it during the terrible year of confinement while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Ags never complained and she fought for every day of her life to be one of joy, humour and pleasure. She will be missed but we will always have her voice.

Lockdown Pie
By Ags Irwin
Read by Ruth Lass

AGS IRWIN 26 April 1949 to 6 May 2021

Pascal Theatre Company at The Bloomsbury Festival

On 16 October 2021, Pascal Theatre Company, in collaboration with The Place Dance Theatre students, will be presenting new  performances inside and outside of St Pancras Church.
Watch this space!
Pascal Theatre Company at The Bloomsbury Festival




WORLD THEATRE DAY 2021 – A REFLECTION

Theatre is international and transgressive. With its roots in circus, Commedia dell’arte and carnival, it is vulgar and challenging. 

What was my first theatre? Punch and Judy fighting in a booth on a Lancashire beach? A small dance band where I sang Que Sera, Sera as a precocious ten-year-old? Dancing in the Blackpool Summer Dance Festival? Daring to play Cleopatra at 17 with the local boys’ school? 

Was it watching May Britt and Sammy Davis Jr in Blue Angel with my Romanian grandparents in a Manchester cinema? (That was the nearest they could get to the European theatre they had lost.)  

Was it during my drama school training, when we toured Twelfth Night to an international theatre festival? I still see the other students and my teenage self, sitting in a sports stadium in Sofia as the Czechs theatrically demonstrated against the Russian invasion…

This past year there has been no theatre. But the impulse to write drama is unstoppable. I have written two new plays and tidied up older ones. I have Zoomed and supported others, who did not know they could, to make theatre from their own lives, as part of our Giving Voice project. I am currently plotting new ways to make performance outside as we move away from the plague.

No virus can stop drama. It is the modus operandi of our politicians and our semi-feudal monarchy. We crave theatre, the show, the performance, the play. Only in English is it ‘the play’. In French, it is une pièce de théâtre; in German, ein Theaterstück: a theatre piece. But in the English language we play, and when the virus is dead, we shall play as we have never played before.

Julia Pascal, Artistic Director of Pascal Theatre Company

WORLD THEATRE DAY 2021 – A REFLECTION