AJT December 2019 Newsletter

2019 Conference, Upcoming Events, and Social Media!

The Alliance for Jewish Theatre hosted the largest Jewish theatre conference in the country November 3 - 5, 2019.

Nearly 100 artists from North America and Israel converged in Chicago

The Alliance for Jewish Theatre hosted the largest Jewish theatre arts conference in the country on November 3 - 5, 2019. Nearly 100 artists from North America and Israel converged in Chicago at AJT's annual conference which was hosted by ShPIel. Artistic Directors, Playwrights, Directors, Actors, and others were inspired to share ideas and discuss initiatives, as a vision for the future of Jewish theatre came into focus.


Expert panelists from Lookingglass Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, foolsFURY, and The Theatre School at DePaul University joined for an Intercultural Theatre panel to discuss authenticity versus inclusion, personal versus universal truths, and misappropriations. A panel, Theatre of the Conflict, explored how we make theater with the war-torn communities of Israel and Palestine. Experts on these range of issues included artists who have worked at and run companies in Israel and Palestine. They presented practices for shaping the conversation of the conflict through theater.


An Artistic Director Roundtable included artistic directors from Theatre J, CenterStage Theatre in Rochester, Mosaic Theatre, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Gallery Players in Columbus, Jewish Repertory Theatre of WNY, New Jewish Theatre in St. Louis, and more. Solo performers and playwrights showcased their newly developed plays on Jewish themes and issues, which included three solo artists and six staged readings of developing playwright pieces. In addition, long time Chicago theatre actor, Mike Nussbaum received the Theodore Bikel Award and Steven N. Miller, Founding Partner of Origin Ventures, received the AJT Distinguished Service Award.


Attendees had the opportunity to experience numerous workshops on physical theatre making, marketing and tax laws, and the 2019 edition of "Twenty-Five Newish Jewish Plays You Should Know." Additional lists were available, offering over 100 plays on Jewish topics as a resource. Of the many invigorating ideas that arose in relation to the Jewish theatre zeitgeist, topics like, How can we bring our stories to the 21st century? How can we transform what it means to make Jewish theater? How can we further Jewish values within the theatre community at large? How can we engage Jewish theatre artists across the country more robustly?


After six years David Chack stepped down as Executive Director and handed over the directorship to Jeremy Aluma. Aluma remarked: "I am excited about the possibilities in store for AJT and how we can take Jewish Theatre into 2020 and beyond. I left the conference with numerous ideas about how to move the organization forward so it can grow with the changes of our larger theatre community. In Judaism there is a belief that empathy stirs us to great acts of kindness and generosity, and that those actions can repair the pain and suffering in the world. This is what we continuously strive for: Tikkun Olam. And this is what I hope to do with AJT."


The 2019 conference sponsors included The Covenant Foundation, ShPIeL - Performing Identity, Victory Gardens Theater, DePaul University's The Music School, The Theatre School, and Mission and Ministry's Jewish Life Office. Next year's AJT Conference will be in the fall of 2020.


Broadway World wrote about the conference, see it here!


AJT 2019 - 2020 BOARD

Hank Kimmel - President

Wendy Kout - Vice President

Ralph Meranto - Vice President

Jordana Halpern - Vice President

Deborah Baer Mozes - Vice President

Jesse Bernstein - Secretary

Susan Lodish - Treasurer

David Y. Chack - Past President

Toby Greenwald - Member at Large

Ronda Spinak - Member at Large

Charlie Grippo - Member at Large

Adam Immerwahr - Member at Large

Robyn Israel - Member at Large

Danielle Levsky - Member at Large

AJT Pop-Up Event at 24/6 Theater in NYC

This Saturday, December 14 at 8pm join us for a Pop-Up Event with AJT Member Theater, 24/6: A Jewish Theater Company in New York City. Use code AJT for $18 tickets.


Riven by internal strife, ecological disaster, and interference from foreign powers, can society survive? Set nearly two millennia ago but still resonant today, acclaimed Israeli playwright Dani Horowitz’s interrelated plays Last Tree in Jerusalem (world premiere translation) and A Page of Talmud tell the seminal Talmudic stories “Kamtza and Bar Kamtza” and “The Oven of Achnai.” These timely Jewish stories examine the cost of humiliation and explore what it means to be a member of a community, to be a leader, to have moral courage, and to resist.

What Our Members Are Up To In December

St. Louis, Missouri: The New Jewish Theatre, Fully Committed by Becky Mode, directed by Ellie Schwetye, December 5 - 22, 2019

Rochester, New York: CenterStage Theatre at the JCC, Raging Skillet, by Jacques Lamarre, based on the book by Chef Rossi, December 7 - 22, 2019

Columbus, Ohio: Gallery Players at the Columbus JCC, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, book & lyrics by Robert L. Freedman, music & lyrics by Steven Lutvak, December 7 - 22, 2019

Los Angeles, California: Jewish Women’s Theatre, It’s A Very Happy Goyisha Hanukkah!, by Anna Abbott, directed by Susan Morgenstern, December 15 - 17, 2019

Washington D.C.: Mosaic Theater Company, Eureka Day by Jonathan Spector, directed by Serge Seiden, December 4, 2019 - January 5, 2020

St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky by Buffy Sedlachek, directed by Shelli Place, December 6 - 22, 2019

New York City, New York: 24/6: A Jewish Theater Company, Last Tree in Jerusalem and A Page of Talmud by Dani Horowitz, directed by Yoni Oppenheim, December 4 - 15, 2019

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