Haifa Theatre fares well overseas, with its plays finding new venues in China, Toronto and Poland, among other places
Right from the very outset, the Haifa Municipal Theater loyally represented the spirit of place and time, and served in Israel as an example and role model for art that represents and demonstrates the diversity of Israeli society, its courage and its creativity. During the last year, the theatre continued the trend of international representation, putting further emphasis on cooperation with foreign countries. The results are already apparent.
In October 2017 the original musical for kids, If I Suddenly Meet a Lion, featured at a large children's theater festival in Mianyang, Sichuan province, in China. People from the Chinese theater visited Haifa with the play Wake Up Stand Up, at the Haifa International Children Theater Festival, were impressed with the show and invited the artists to perform it in China. Lion was performed at a large outdoor event. Following the tour, several more dates in China were secured.
Nitza Ben-Zvi, CEO: "Haifa Theatre, one of the leading Israeli theatres, sees it as a pleasant duty to bring original works to audiences outside of Israel as well, and to host at the same time foreign troupes in Haifa, due to the huge importance we attach to exchanging opinions and styles, creating an active and fruitful dialogue, and exposing Haifa, its institutions, people and culture, throughout the world, and representing not only on the municipal level, but also on the international one.
Dalia Lee Storch, Olives
"In March 1918, the plays Grounded and Olives will travel to a contemporary Israeli culture festival at the Mini Teater in Ljubljana. Mini Teater is the biggest private theatre in Slovenia, located in the building of the Jewish Cultural Center; both were founded by actor and director Robert Waltl. The plays will be presented in Hebrew with Slovenian subtitles; in April 2018 Mini Teater's play Jewish Dog will visit Haifa Theatre to mark the Holocaust Memorial Day. The show will be performed in English with Hebrew subtitles, in the presence of the Slovenian ambassadress, followed by the lecture The Holocaust in Israeli Theater; In November-December the play Billy Schwartz will be performed in Toronto.
"Above all, I think culture is important, because in the technological age people are getting a little lost, and cultures draws them back to humanity. As far as Israel's cultural representation abroad is concerned, it is obviously highly important and valuable, especially at this time when we are exposed to boycotts that began in art and then moved on to other products and areas, but first was a cultural boycott; artists refused to come to Israel, and Israeli performances were prevented from performing abroad. I think that when an Israeli play is performed in a foreign country and people see the Israeli beauty, culture and aesthetics, they say to themselves, 'Hey, this is a different people than what we think. A normal people. Look: they also are human'.
"The Theatre represents Israel and also Haifa, which is an international city. This representation is critical to the State of Israel, especially during this time. Has always been critical, today even more so. I also believe that by going out, the resulting dialogue, the dynamics between the artistic activity abroad and our own, create important global interaction, teach us and contribute to us as artists and as a society. Culture was always imported, always moved around the world, and these days it's the easiest thing to. So why shouldn't we?
"All that involves, of course, considerable financial expenditure, that sometimes casts a shadow over the option to go abroad, so we work to find funding through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, consulates, donations, because in the end it's a barter deal—it's not that someone comes and pays for the whole production. With Billy Schwartz in Toronto, it will happen, as they invited us and they want us. In China, it was a barter, an exchange. So naturally, even when you replace and their show takes place here and it's revenue covers the costs of the mission abroad we are trying to find the budget with half the body. Need to make it happen. That is the whole idea. It may not be simple, but it's our job."