In the Spotlight

By April 4, 2016news-leeds
Out of the shadows

The Out of the Shadows festival is coming to Leeds and York, showcasing lost work by Jewish captives.

Bookings are now open for the inaugural Out of the Shadows festival, taking place in Leeds and York from 1st-21st June at venues across the two cities, with performances of The Smoke of Home at York’s Clifford’s Tower on 16th and 17th April.

The festival is a presentation of the work of the Performing the Jewish Archive project, the international arts research project developed by senior music lecturer at the University of Leeds, Stephen Muir.

“The Performing the Jewish Archive project, under whose auspices this festival is produced, seeks to inject new life into recently rediscovered musical and theatrical works by Jewish artists, many of which were thought to have been lost, or have languished in obscurity until recently,” explained Stephen.

Attendees will rediscover classical music and theatre performances from the archives of Jewish culture at the festival, which will include premiere performances of rediscovered creations by artists in captivity, exile or migration in the 20th century. These creations comprise cabaret and choral music by émigré composers. There will also be a collection of work from the Terezín Ghetto, which includes chamber music and songs that will be performed on 8th June by the Nash Ensemble at the Howard Assembly Room, plus a display of drawings by the ghetto’s children will be on display on 1st June at Holy Trinity Church.

Prior to the June events, the festival will feature matinee and evening performances of The Smoke of Home taking place at York’s Clifford’s Tower on 16th and 17th April. This is a one-act play written in a Second World War ghetto that was uncovered in 2006 by historian Dr Lisa Peschel and this will be the first time the historical landmark has ever been used for an event.

There will also be performances of Harlequin in the Ghetto from 2nd-5th June at the University of York’s Black Box theatre space. This is a gentle comedy written by a young prisoner about a clown in the ghetto. With much of the script lost over the decades, the actors will interpret its remains to create a new story that pays tribute to the original.

With these and many more unique performances, the three-week festival will be form one of five international performance festivals. Spanning the globe, the festivals travel through Madison, US in May 2016 and, following the performances in Leeds and York it will travel to the Czech Republic in September 2016, Sydney, Australia in August 2017, and Cape Town, South Africa in September 2017.

Stephen adds: “Out of the Shadows promises to be a memorable and poignant month’s events celebrating the lives and achievements of Jewish artists in times of both adversity and freedom. We hope you can join us.”

Visit Ptja.leeds.ac.uk to find out more.