SALUTING THE DORA WASSERMAN YIDDISH THEATRE!
Since 1958, the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre has been dramatising the Jewish experience and sustaining the Yiddish theatre legacy at home at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts in Montreal and on tour to 48 cities in North America, Israel and Europe. This Yiddish Theatre has many reasons to celebrate. Its audiences keep growing, numbering in the thousands for each production, and young actors keep joining the large repertory company. Its plays – classics and original works, dramas and musicals – are critically acclaimed. Its archives record the treasures of the past while YAYA (Young Actors for Young Audiences), its youth wing, remains vibrant and popular.
For over fifty years, the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre has presented more than 85 plays. It has built bridges to the French and English theatre communities through collaborative projects and received numerous awards. Dora Wasserman, the company’s founder, was honoured with many awards including the Order of Canada, the Order of Quebec, and a Masque Award for Lifetime Achievement from her peers in the Quebec theatre community. The Yiddish Theatre was renamed in Dora’s honour in 2002. From 1996 to 2011 the company was led to new heights by Dora’s daughter, Bryna Wasserman who remains the Honorary Artistic Director.
In 2008 the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre marked its 50th anniversary with an unprecedented 9-day international festival. The Montreal International Yiddish Theatre Festival was the largest international gathering of Yiddish theatres from Poland, Romania, Israel, USA, Canada, France, Austria and Australia along with musicians, scholars and filmmakers. The 2nd edition of this Festival took place in June 2011 and was also an enormous success.
The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre (DWYT) consists of three major components: its mainstage theatre production and year-round programmes, its Young Actors for Young Audiences courses, and the DWYT Archives.
TODAY, THE GREAT TREASURES OF YIDDISH CULTURE THAT DORA WASSERMAN SOUGHT TO SUSTAIN OVER FIFTY YEARS AGO ARE BEING PASSED ON TO YET ANOTHER GENERATION.
Honorary Artistic Director: Bryna Wasserman
Coordinator DWYT 12-13: Dan Laxer
Committee Chair: Aron Gonshor
DWYT Committee Members: Edit Kuper, Fred Bettman, Raizel Candib, Ronnie Roter, Stephanie Finkelstein, Richard Martz, Dan Goldstein, Maia Cooper, and Battia Bettman.
Support Yiddish Theatre at the Segal Centre for Performing ArtsKeep Yiddish Alive! Wall of a Thousand Names
After surviving the Holocaust, Dora Wasserman made a commitment to keep Yiddish Theatre and culture alive. In honour of her dream, in 2010, the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre established a digital Wall of a Thousand Names. Last year, the campaign raised 10,100$ in support of Yiddish programming at the Segal Centre.
Anyone wishing to express their support may do so by adding their name to the wall for the nominal sum of $25.00 per individual.
All proceeds raised through this initiative will be used to fund Yiddish Theatre programming and initiatives year round at the Segal Centre and will be eligible for a tax receipt.
Make a gift today!
Volunteer with the Dora Wasserman Yiddish TheatreDo you love Yiddish theatre and want to participate in its continued cultural legacy?
Become a DWYT volunteer today!
Upcoming 2012-2013 production: Tales from Odessa
June 16 to July 07, 2013
Directed by: Audrey Finkelstein
Based on the stories of Isaac Babel
Music & Lyrics by Josh Dolgin AKA Socalled
Book by Derek Goldman
In Yiddish with English and French supertitles
Tales From Odessa is based on short stories by celebrated Russian-Jewish writer Isaac Babel who lovingly depicted the Jewish underworld of Odessa in the last days of the Russian Empire. Odessa was a Black Sea town infused with Jewish flavour and renowned for its humour, bravado, flashiness, materialism, excitement about life’s simplest pleasures and above all, its reputation for stretching the truth. The central character is Benya Krik, a criminal who is crowned "King" by his fellow Jewish Odessans --for his personal charisma, sense of humor, and magnanimity.
An exhilarating musical infused with the music and lyrics of renowned musician Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled.
Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled / Credit: SPG Le Pigeon
Information & Tickets
Presented by Reitmans Canada Limited
2011-2012 production: On Second Avenue
On Second Avenue by Zalmen Mlotek and Moishe Rosenfeld and co-directed by Bryna Wasserman and Audrey Finkelstein From June 10th to July 1st, 2012. This production is a musical journey through the history of Yiddish theatre from its inception in Romania through its heyday on New York’s Second Avenue upto the 1930’s. It was a reprise of critically acclaimed and well loved revue which had also been nominated for a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Musical for a co-production between the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre and the National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene and also directed by Bryna Wasserman.
This was a new production of Second Avenue with new staging, choreography, musical arrangements, new set, scenes and new performers. It featured a huge cast and a live band!
Presented by Reitmans Canada Limited
Click here to go to On second Avenue
The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre’s Year-Round Programmes
To Order Tickets: 514.739.7944 or segalcentre.org
Nov.12 & 13, 2012
A Staged Reading
DI KOMEDYANTN (THE SUNSHINE BOYS) by Neil Simon
Adapted into Yiddish as DI KOMEDYANTN by Miriam Hoffman
Directed by Bryna Wasserman
A rollicking comedy about a former vaudeville duo
starring Aron Gonshor & Sam Stein
Dec. 3 & 4, 2012
A Staged Reading
LES BELLES SOEURS by Michel Tremblay
Translation by Goldie Morgentaler and Pierre Anctil as DI SHVEIGERINS
Presented on the 20th Anniversary of
the Yiddish Theatre’s popular production
Directed by Rachelle Glait
With many of the original Yiddish Theatre cast
Dec. 16, 2012
Yiddish Theatre Singers and KlezKanada musicians
In collaboration with KLEZKANADA
Join in the singing and dancing
Jan. 13, 2013
A MINI YIDDISH FILM FESTIVAL
In Collaboration with the JEWISH PUBLIC LIBRARY
Films Restored with Subtitles by The National Centre for Jewish Film
- EAST AND WEST
Austria, 1923 (85 minutes)
B&W Silent with English and Yiddish intertitles
Cast: Molly Picon, Jacob Kalish, Sidney M. Goldin
- LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS
USSR, 1928, 92 minutes, B&W
Based on Sholem Aleichem’s stories
- THE LIGHT AHEAD/ FISHKE THE LAME
USA, 1939, 94 minutes, B&W
Produced & Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Jan. 22, 2013
AN EVENING WITH MAURICE PODBREY… in Yiddish
The Founding Artistic Director of The Centaur Theatre
Reads and Discusses one of the great Yiddish stories
BONTSHE SHVAYG (Bontshe The Silent) by I.L. Peretz
ANNA FISHMAN GONSHOR of McGill University’s Jewish Studies Dept.
speaks about I.L. Peretz
Yiddish Theatre Singers, Peretz’ poetry in song
May 7, 2013
MENDY CAHAN IN CONCERT: A YIDDISH BOUQUET
A crowd favourite at both Montreal International Yiddish Theatre Festivals
From Israel, Mendy sings unforgettable Yiddish ballads and renderings of
Jacques Brel, Peggy Lee and Leonard Cohen in Yiddish
Accompanied by Nina Shapilsky of Toronto
Presented in collaboration with THE FRIENDS OF YIDDISH of Toronto
- EAST AND WEST
Based on core Jewish values and inspired by the vision of Dora and Bryna Wasserman, YAYA (Young Actors for Young Audiences) builds on the success of its original award-winning theatre program which seeks to instill a love of the performing arts in new generations of artists and audiences. From toddlers to young adults, YAYA provides youth with a progressive learning experience in the performing arts. Over the years, YAYA has enhanced self-confidence, self-esteem, creativity, critical thinking, self-discipline, teamwork, empathy and inter-cultural understanding among youth.
Past successful productions such as No More Raisins, No More Almonds by Batia Bettman and The Children of Terezin featuring the opera Brundibar by Edit Kuper, still resonate throughout the community.
For more information on the 2012-2013 courses and to register, please click here.
A UNIQUE INITIATIVE TO PRESERVE THE TREASURES OF THE DORA WASSERMAN YIDDISH THEATRE!
Founded and maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers, this beloved collection includes thousands of documents, including old films, videos, posters, photographs, sheet music, maquettes, audio tapes, scripts, costume drawings and playbills.
More information to come.