Yiddish Theater Café

A play reading of “Marionetnshpil” by Moshe Nadir, with Tamara Gleason Freidberg as the Devil and Michael Shapiro as God. From the Yiddish Open Mic Café at the London Jewish Museum, September 2019

As part of our aim of actively supporting the development of Yiddish culture, including Yiddish theatre, the Yiddish Café Trust is delighted to launch our Yiddish Theatre Café initiative, which sits alongside the Yiddish Open Mic Café and the Yiddish Sof-Vokh.

A Season of Yiddish Theatre

We are thrilled to announce that the first theatre activity will be a season of Yiddish theatre in January to March 2024, which is a collaboration between University College London (UCL), JW3, and the Yiddish Café Trust; the Season is led by Dr Sonia Gollance (UCL). The Season consists of three Yiddish theatre events, with an associated Yiddish theatre workshop, all at JW3.

Please note: this Season of Yiddish Theatre is intended for a general audience (i.e. no knowledge of Yiddish is required), and either the Yiddish will be accompanied by English translations, or English translations will be used in the performances.


The season consists of:

24th January 2024: Secrets of the London Yiddish Stage

A talented troupe of actors and musicians, including well known actor, playwright, comedian and theatre producer David Schneider and celebrated New York Yiddish actor Shane Baker, are brought together for this entertaining and thought-provoking performance, directed by Yiddish scholar and performer Vivi Lachs. This evening of one-act plays, sketches, and songs will also include excerpts in Yiddish from the Merchant of Venice and the King of Lampedusa, with subtitled translation. You’ll get the sense of the history and atmosphere of London’s vibrant Jewish immigrant theatre: cry, sing, laugh and heckle!

22nd February 2024: Mirele Efros, by Jacob Gordin

One of the greatest hits of the Yiddish stage, Mirele Efros is called the “Yiddish Queen Lear” for its depiction of a fierce and complex matriarch. Featuring a company of leading British-Jewish actors, this play reading (in English) will be directed by Richard Beecham; it will be followed by an audience Q&A and Yiddish extracts directed by Tamara Micner (featuring Tamara Micner & David Schneider). The translation for this performance is by Nahma Sandrow.

6th March 2024: Miryeml, by Tea Arciszewska

A World Premiere.

Tea Arciszewska was a dazzling figure in the prewar Warsaw Yiddish culture scene – an actress, dramaturge, salon hostess, and muse to the renowned Yiddish writer I. L. Peretz.  Miryeml is a modernist work that deftly integrates twentieth-century history and Jewish folklore into a narrative about children’s response to trauma, challenging our expectations of Yiddish theatre. Tea Arciszewska started writing the play in the 1920s, focussed on the experiences of children during the pogroms that followed World War I. She worked on the play for decades. It was first published in 1958, but never performed (as far as we know). The staged reading, directed by Leo Doulton, will make use of the new English translation of Sonia Gollance.

28th February 2024: Yiddish Theatre Workshop

There will also be a Yiddish Theatre Workshop as part of the season.  The Workshop, currently scheduled for the evening of 28th February), led and coordinated by Tamara Micner. (Further details to follow.)

The intention is that the Season of Yiddish Theatre will be the first of many such activities connected to Yiddish theatre and will foster an environment for the development of a Yiddish theatre troupe.