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Yiddish Theatre

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Theatre in Spotlight -The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre ,Montreal.Director: Bryna Wasserman
By Moti Sandak

December 2003

Name of Theatre: The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre ,Montreal.

Director: Ms. Bryna Wasserman

Theatre Mission:
To sustain and dramatize the Jewish experience. The Yiddish Theatre reflects the entire panorama of Jewish life as lived in Yiddish: the language, the literature, the traditions, the turbulent history, humour, folk wisdom and music.

Theatre History:
North America's only Yiddish theatre company in permanent residence was founded by Dora Wasserman, C.M., who, for the past half-century, has kept Yiddish theatre alive and well while creating links with the French and English theatre communities across the country. The recipient of countless awards, she is one of Canada’s best-loved directors.

Bryna Wasserman left New York to take the helm when Dora Wasserman, her mother, suffered a stroke in 1996. Notable success with the Yiddish Theatre led to her additional appointment in 1998 as Artistic Director of the Centre’s English-language theatre program. With a BFA and an MFA in directing from the Tisch School of Fine Arts (NYU), she has staged works in English at major New York theatres and the Vancouver Opera Company, and in Yiddish at New York’s Folksbiene Playhouse.

The Yiddish Theatre is a repertory company of about 50 volunteer performers, including a substantial number of young actors. The creative, design and production teams are hired on a per-play basis. High production values have earned the company a large, loyal audience.

National And International Cooperation :
The Yiddish Theatre has toured to packed houses in France, Belgium, Switzerland, the former USSR, Israel, many major east coast US cities and across Canada. The next tour is to Vienna in October 2004

Prizes and Awards:
Theatregoers and the media hold the Yiddish Theatre to high standards. Montréal reviewers assess its productions with the same critical eye they use for professional theatre in English and French. Any company would be proud to have the consistently positive reviews the Yiddish Theatre has received.

In November 1997, Québec’s Ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l’Immigration (Ministry of Relations with the Citizens and Immigration) paired the Yiddish Theatre with the province’s largest theatre, Le Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. In 1998, the Yiddish Theatre performed at the Soirée des Masques, where Dora Wasserman, C.M. was honoured with the Prix hommage (lifetime achievement award) by her peers at the Académie québécoise du théâtre.

The Yiddish Theatre has been the subject of documentary films, magazine articles and major stories on national and local television and radio news programs. It is also featured extensively in Jean-Marc Larrue’s trilingual book Yiddish Theatre in Montreal.

Repertoire 2003-2004
Fiddler on The Roof


Ben Gonshor
Director ,Marketing and Communications
SBC Theatre
5170, Cote Ste. Catherine Rd.
H3W 1M7
Tel: (514) 739-2301 ext. 326
Fax:(514) 739-9340

E-mail: bgonshor@saidyebronfman.org  
Web: www.saidyebronfman.org  

Photo Credit: Joel Silverstein

Tel Aviv Tusday  16 December 2003

Dear Bryna,
I am sorry to hear about the death of Dora.
The Editorial Board of All About Jewish Theatre, The People to People Center at the Jewish Agency ,The Global Arts Initiative and all Theatre professionals in Israel and worldwide are participating in your grief,
I would like to wish you , the family and your Theatre members and friends all the best.
All Jewish and Yiddish Theatre lovers will miss her a lot.

Moti Sandak
Director & Chief Editor
All About Jewish Theatre

Related Links:

  • Dora Wasserman, The indefatigable founding director of Canada's only Yiddish theatre died at 84.
  • Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia
  • Theatre in Spotlight -The Room Theatre Tel Aviv Director: Amir Orian
  • Theatre in Spotlight -Theatre Company Jerusalem Director :Gabriella Lev
  • Theatre in Spotlight -MARA Theatre Kiryat Shmona Director :Roi Rashkes

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