About

A BIT ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE STUDIES

The Department of Theatre Studies at the Hebrew University is one of the oldest Theatre departments in Israel. It is distinguished by its integration of experiential and theoretical knowledge, and directed by a dialogical world-view. Studies within the department enable the development of creative thinking, a sense of community, and an examination of the world through tools of the performing arts.

The Theatre Department at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was founded in 1971 at the initiative of Professor Arie Sachs (1932-1992), a lecturer at the University’s English department, poet and translator, as well as a legendary artist in the Jerusalem theatre community. Professor Sachs’ activity as a director began with plays he directed in the English department, in which the department’s faculty and students participated as actors. The success of the plays he directed – “Alice in Wonderland” (1967); “Everyman” (1969) – paved the way for the establishment of a theatre department.

Studies in the Department include theoretical classes on the history and theory of theatre, drama, and performance taught by leading researchers in the field. These courses offer a wide theoretical and historical background while equipping students with critical tools for understanding and analyzing works of theatre. Some of these theoretical classes are held in the library’s Media Department, which offers a rich and diverse collection of documentary and feature films on an array of topics. The Israel Goor Theatre Archives and Museum is also available, and often used, for student research on Israeli and Jewish theatre.

Practical workshops and laboratory classes are an important part of the Department’s curriculum. These classes are held in the special spaces belonging to the department: the ‘Garage Theatre’, where many of our productions are performed, as well as the ‘Mirror Room’. The artist-teachers of the workshops are among the most promising and successful fringe artists in Israeli theatre. At the end of each semester, productions developed in the Department’s workshops, and other student activities, are staged in the ‘Garage Theatre.’ The department encourages student initiatives and offers artistic guidance for students’ wishing to work on original theatrical performances.

Being an integral part of the Faculty of Humanities and the School of Arts, the Theatre Studies department encourages students to attend classes offered by other departments. This significantly broadens students’ intellectual horizons.

What can you do with it?

Studies in the Department create fertile ground for future theatre-related activity: employment in the research and criticism of theatre, archival work, teaching, therapy, production, and management of artistic events. The Department’s alumni have achieved prominent positions in major intersections of Israeli theatrical activity. Among them, to name a few: Motti Lerner, the internationally renowned Israeli playwright; Jacky Levi, television personality, author and stand-up artist; Nir Landa, puppet and street theatre artist; Tair Avshalom, production manager and director of renewal at the Gerard Behar Center; Hanin Tarabay, activist and Palestinian theatre actress; Mendy Cahan, head of the Jung Yiddish Center and cabaret artist; Dr. Shelly Zer-Zion, theatre researcher and tenured lecturer at Haifa University’s Theatre Department; Dr. Hava Aldouby, researcher in new-media art and senior faculty member at the Open University.

A message from the department chair

There are many ways to fall in love with the theatre

I fell in love through reading plays. Some people like reading the dialogs out loud; I preferred to read the stage instructions. I tried to imagine the space created by the director in her/his mind and to then watch the actors move within it. Some people fall in love with theatre through acting in youth clubs or school plays; some are attracted to the “behind the scenes”, to organizing the chaos of production or design. Some love the darkness in the auditorium just before the stage lights are turned on, expectantly waiting to hear the first line. Others are attracted to the idea behind theatre. After all, what is theatre? From the beginning of mankind, people have been singing, dancing, and producing tones from reeds or sticks. And yet, we might ask, why are there people who love standing in front of others and pretending they are someone else, somewhere else? And why do we love to sit in the dark or the light and watch this pretense?

The Greek philosopher Aristotle asked himself these questions in his Poetics and concluded that the need to imitate nature is natural and inborn, just like the passion to sing and dance. We enjoy imitating, Aristotle argues, since we learn from it and we enjoy trying to identify what is being represented by it. We enjoy the search for the meaning that is behind someone else’s pretense. In short, we enjoy the act of interpretation.

Theatre Studies engage with all of these aspects of theatre and with the secret of this unique art’s attraction through the ages. The department’s study program encourages the development of creative thinking and imparts a broad education alongside practical experience, and also enables students to develop a personal project, if they wish to do so.

The Theatre Studies Department invites you to join us and bring your curiosity and talent to a place that enables personal development and a group experience.

I will be glad to get to know you and to welcome you into our departmental family.

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Dr. Jeanette Malkin

Chair of the Theatre Studies Department

 

The Billy Crystal Foundation and the Loewe Foundation

 

The Billy Crystal Foundation: Peace through the Performing Arts

The Billy Crystal Foundation: Peace through the Performing Arts is a program dedicated to seeking ways to promote peaceful coexistence between the country’s Jewish and Arab citizens. The program was established thanks to the generous contribution of the renowned Jewish-American actor, Billy Crystal. Theatre artists and university students, both Jews and Arabs, participate in this program, which offers a wide range of workshops aimed at creating a social and cultural bridge, as well as attempting to create understanding and identification with the 'other' through theatre work. The program provides financial assistance for students interested in creating projects that deal with Jewish-Arab coexistence and relationships.

The foundation supports the department’s theatre therapy section, artist classes with central, activist figures in Israeli and international theatre, and study days dedicated to theatre as “Tikkun Olam” (Repairing the world). The following are among the recent, special projects of this program, whose significance extended beyond the university campus: the site-specific performance “identity-place” which was presented at the Jerusalem Art Festival by the student performer  Ilham Mahamid and directed by the artist Emanuella Amichai (2015); performances held on the Hebrew University-Mt. Scopus Campus on Arab Culture Day; the bilingual workshop in Hebrew and Arabic conducted by the voice performance artist Dr. Joseph Sprinzak, the results of which were presented to the acclaimed British actress, Dame Helen Mirren, on a visit to the department (2016).

The Frederick Loewe Foundation

The Frederick Loewe program for art and research in musical theatre emphasizes the musical aspects of theatre. Thanks to the generous endowment of the Frederick Loewe Foundation, named after the composer of the musical My Fair Lady (among many others), the department is able to conduct classes and workshops dedicated to musical theatre, including opera, cabaret, musicals and theatre-music relationships. The foundation also supports study workshops and musical theatre and dance theatre productions that are presented in the department each year. Throughout the years numerous master classes have been conducted with the participation of central artists in Israeli theatre, including the composer Josef Bardanashvili; Yonatan Levi, who directs experimental musicals; the Ruth Kanner Theatre Group; the performer Naomi Yoeli; and others. The Foundation has also supported international academic conferences dedicated to music in the theatre arts.

 

Contact Us

Department Administration

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Orlit Keysar, Secretary of the Theatre Studies Department

Room 4607

Reception hours: Sun: 11:30–14:30  Mon–Thu: 10:00–13:00

orlitk@savion.huji.ac.il

Phone no. 02-588-3936

 

Events Producer

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Ms. Rony Ohad

Reception hours: Room 5802, by appointment

rony.ohad@mail.huji.ac.il

 

Department representative for student recruitment

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Ms. Michal Pollak

Phone no. 052-8303829

michal.pollack@mail.huji.ac.il

 

 Academic coordinator of the joint Business Administration-Arts program

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Ms. Keren Cohen

keren.cohen@mail.huji.ac.il