Theatre in the Theresienstadt Ghetto: Newly Discovered Works
The UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the University of York Department of Theatre, Film and Television are proud to present a student production of newly discovered works by prisoners in the World War II Jewish ghetto at Theresienstadt (in Czech, Terezín) in association with the Bloomsbury Theatre and the project 'Performing the Jewish Archive,' funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
How did these works come to light so many decades after the war? During interviews with Dr. Lisa Peschel of the University of York Department of Theatre, Film and Television in 2004-08, survivors of the ghetto directed her to private collections and small archives where she found scripts ranging from cabarets and puppet plays to verse dramas. Surprisingly, most of the works the prisoners wrote are comedies. The performance will feature excerpts from several of the scripts, drawing from both the comic and the tragic.
Part I, Laugh with Us, is named for a full-length cabaret preserved from the ghetto. Students from UCL, directed by student Leo Doulton, will perform a selection of songs and scenes from the cabaret and other comic works.
In Part II University of York students directed by recent graduate Joe Lichtenstein will perform The Smoke of Home. This one-act historical allegory, set in the Thirty Years' War, confronts the question: if we survive, will we be able to return to the home we knew?
The performance will be introduced by Dr. Peschel and Professor Michael Berkowitz of UCL. Following the production, Dr. Peschel's recently published anthology of the plays, Performing Captivity, Performing Escape: Cabarets and Plays from the Terezín/Theresienstadt Ghetto, will be available for purchase.