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The 24th Acco Festival is Off and Running

The 24th Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre, 2003, under the auspices of the City of Acre (Acco) in cooperation with the Old Acre Development Company, will take place on the intermediate days of Succot, October 11–14, 2003.

The Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre 2003, like its predecessors, will be marked by an interdisciplinary approach that expands the boundaries of theatre. Despite budgetary cutbacks that have significantly reduced the number of plays in the Festival, this year will see several unique productions, including some that combine theatre with dance, plastic arts, puppetry, video, and virtual reality.
This year’s festival will include 250 performances, of 35 different productions, among them 7 original productions that will premiere in the framework of the competition. Three of them are based on pre-written scripts and four are the product of alternative development processes.

The “Alternative Jewish Theatre Around the World” project, sponsored by the Global Arts Initiative  robbie@gringras.com  at the People to People Center at Jewish Agency, is entering its second year. Last year, the American-French clown Laura Hertz appeared in this framework. This year, the British body artist Marisa Carnesky has been chosen, and she will present her show Jewish Tattooess at the Festival. Carnesky presents a personal political essay in the form of a provocative ritual that examines the Jewish prohibition of tattooing as against her personal Jewish tradition. The work has been staged successfully in many cities around the world, and it reaches us after several performances in Los Angeles. The British Council has assisted in bringing this work to the Acco Festival.
A further dimension of cooperation with the Jewish Agency in collaboration with The Stage Center Worshop www.stage-center.org  e-mail rivi@stage-center.org   is the arrival of five Jewish artists and theatre directors from North America and Europe. These guests will examine the possibility of bringing a number of the Festival’s productions to their own theatres, will hold workshops, and will set up future cooperation with Israeli theatre artists.
The guests are Kendra Fanconi of Vancouver, Canada; www.jccgv.com  

Ari Roth, playwright and artistic director of Theater J, a Jewish Theatre in Washington DC ariroth@dcjcc.org
Aaron Davidman, director of A Traveling Jewish Theater, from San Francisco; www.atjt.com

Warren Rosenzweig, actor, director, and head of the Jewish Theater of Austria; www.jta.at

and Alexander Hausvater, a director from Israel now working in Canada and Europe. alexanderhausvater@yahoo.ca

From France, the Festival is welcoming Lunatic – A Musical Circus in the Air. The show is based on the works of the so-called “accursed poets” Verlaine and Rimbaud. It is accompanied by live and recorded music. France’s embassy in Israel has assisted in bringing it to the Festival.

The Opening Ceremony 

The Festival will open on October 11, with a “Concert of Sparks” — The Raanana Symphony Orchestra, performer David D’Or, and performers from “Rosh Hutzot” join together in a unique concert combining passages from the greatest classics with ground and aerial acrobatics, fire juggling, and pyrotechnics.

Original productions:

 Rite of Spring: Local Version, based on Stravinsky, written and directed by choreographer Ruby Edelman; Seeds, a theatrical collage prepared and directed by Ariel Ephraim Eshbal; Gases, by Ran Appelberg and directed by Shifra Haefrati; The Bus, by Iman Ajabaria and directed by Fouad Awad (in Arabic, with Hebrew translation); Nothing, by Roni Almog and directed by Zvika Fischson; Plasmatica – Notes from a Journey, written and directed by Amit Drori, Sylwia Trzeœniowska, and Ran Ben-Harush; Me Dea Ex_, by Neora  www.medeaex.org  www.neora.com who also designed the three-dimensional virtual environment, operates the robot performers, and is responsible for the adaptation from Euripides, Seneca, and Heiner Muller

In addition to the plays at the Festival, there will be special events related to Arab-Jewish cooperation, and dialogues in which the artists meet the city and its population.

One chosen focus of the Festival this year is the “other,” not just as a theatrical or artistic expression but also as an outsider in society. Two events hosted by the Festival will present the public with the artistic works of those who differ from most of us by being deaf, or by having trouble with speech or with rational thinking. Princesses and Soldiers, by Guy Biran, is a joint production of Akim’s “Other Theatre” and the Yoram Levinstein Acting Studio. The play, directed by Yuval Liron, deals with the imaginary meeting of a troop of soldiers with the inhabitants of a strange country. The comical meeting between the extremely different groups invites questions regarding the limitations of us all and regarding how we identify and define others as atypical. Can’t Hear, from the Ashdod Theatre, is a classic clown show by deaf performers, who bring forth a poetical work under the unique directorial technique of director-clown Jerome Arouche.
Common Language, moderated by Osnat El-Cabir, mixes the Jewish and Arab story traditions with the tradition of India’s theatre of movement. The workshop operates during the year at the Jewish-Arab Centre in Jaffa, supported by the Bracha Fund and with the help of the Arts Department of the Tel Aviv–Jaffa Municipality. The workshop’s participants are continuing (with support from Omanut La’am) to tour the country with the program they mounted at the 2002 Festival, and in parallel they are planning to stage a new show at the upcoming Festival. The name of the new show is Monsoon.
The Ashdod Theatre is providing the festival with two more shows: Second Chance, based on the “Anihu” stories of Etgar Keret, which were translated into Russian and staged by Yosef Pottefinko, and supported by the Center for Absorption of Immigrant Artists; and an outdoor show by the Barmuza Group led by Jerome Arouche.

Along with the productions from abroad, the Festival is hosting a unique project that incorporates five community theatre productions from various towns around Israel, all as part of an experiment in broadening the target audience for the artists participating in the Festival experience. The Shakhar branch of the Ministry of Education and Culture is providing special support. In addition, the Festival is hosting the play Welcome Bride, produced by the Acco Theater Center in cooperation with the Old Acre Development Company.
The Festival’s program also includes street theatre and outdoor events, a modern circus, parades, a bandstand, and a crafts bazaar.
The overall budget of the festival for this year stands at $600,000.
The total prize money at the Festival will be $10,000. A panel of judges, appointed by the Festival’s management, will choose the winners of the Festival Prize, which amounts to 15,000 shekels. A further prize will be given jointly by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Tmu-Na theatre to the most promising artist. The prize includes a grant of 25,000 shekels for completion of the winner’s next project, plus a rehearsal hall, production and logistics support, publicity, and marketing. In addition, this year for the first time course scholarships will be awarded to four festival participants by the Rivi Feldmesser-Yaron Theater Workshop.

Management and production team:

Chairman of the Festival Management: Dr. Shmaryahu Biran, Mayor of Acre
Vice Chairman of the Management: Dudu Harari, General Manager of the Old Acre Development Company
General Manager and Chief Producer: Albert Ben Chelouche
Artistic Producer: Jackie Bechar
Artistic Manager: Dr. Ati Citron
Artistic Committee: Dr. Naomi Yoeli, Noya Lancet, Yuval Meskin, and Dirar Suleiman.


The Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre is a joint production of the Municipality of Acre and the Old Acre Development Company, funded by the Ministry of Education Culture and Sport – Culture and Education Authority, the Municipality of Acre, the Ministry of Tourism, the Center for Absorption of Immigrant Artists, the Bracha Fund, the Jewish Agency, Omanut La’Am, the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, and Matan – The Center for Experimental Theatre, Joshua Rabinowitz Foundation, Tel Aviv.

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Page 2: Special Production: Gas by Ran Appleberg
Page 3: Special Production :ME DEA EX_ Brief artist statement/history

Related Links:

  • Acco Festival (Hebrew)
  • Acco Festival (Arabic)
  • The People to People Center at the Jewish Agency
  • Links to Fringe Theatre Festivals worldwide
  • Rosh Hutsot Street Theatre
  • National outdoor events Association
  • Medea ex project
  • The Dachau Gas Chambers
  • Theatre in Spotlight -The Room Theatre Tel Aviv Director: Amir Orian

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  • Kendra Fanconi , Vancouver Canada

    Ari Roth , Artistic Director Theatre J Washington DC

    Warren Rosenzweig, Director of The Jewish Theatre Austria

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