Manchester Jewish Museum have revealed the inaugural season of Synagogue Scratch, a series of work-in-progress performances exploring stories of Jewish Manchester.

Set within the museum’s stunning historic Grade II listed Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, the calendar features three performances, all of which celebrate exciting Jewish, Mancunian stories.

Synagogue Scratch aims to support the work of both local up-and-coming artists and more established acts at varying stages of their work-in-progress. Audiences will get the unique opportunity to be the first people to see these projects out in the wild and help these supremely talented performers develop their material.

The season kicks off on Sun 26 Mar, with the first episode of a TV sitcom performed live by Ellie Silver. Titled Beth’s Din, the show tells the story of Manchester’s first-ever female rabbi and her struggle for acceptance from a notoriously traditional synagogue congregation. The material has been crafted to be enjoyed equally by Jewish audiences and those who know nothing about Jewish culture.

Next up, on Sun 2 Apr, will be the theatrical piece, We Wish You Long Life, from Mancunian Jewish actor and writer, Amy Lever. Amy is passionate about telling northern contemporary stories with a Jewish influence, while incorporating verbatim testimony and interview into her scripts.

We Wish You Long Life was originally performed as part of a short play festival, in which six short plays were written, rehearsed and performed to a live audience within 24 hours. The story has now been developed into a longer piece of theatre, exploring the lives of a Jewish-Irish Catholic family and the shared cultural history of these two communities.

In the season finale, on Sun 23 Apr, audiences are invited to watch A Manchester Girlhood, a story deeply rooted in the family history of the play’s writer, Julia Pascal. Growing up in the north of England, Julia was the first woman director at the National Theatre on the South Bank with her stage adaptation of Dorothy Parker’s prose and poetry. She is the granddaughter of Manchester Jews and a playwright who has focused her work on exploring untold, often neglected, Jewish stories, particularly those of women.

A Manchester Girlhood tells the tale of three sisters who grew up as the Jewish Mancunian daughters of those who fled Romanian antisemitism, sharing a moving vision of what it was like to struggle for good education, love and identity as Jews who wanted free lives as women.

Manchester Jewish Museum’s Creative Producer, Demi Franks, who worked on developing this season of events says: “We are really excited to launch our inaugural Synagogue Scratch season this Spring, celebrating local artists and supporting the development of new work-in-progress. This season’s theme ‘Jewish Manchester,’ particularly excites me as I’m really proud to be providing a platform and a one-of-kind space for local emerging artists to share and explore their work in this unique way here at MJM.

“We are really looking forward to inviting our diverse audiences to not only see this exciting work but meet, chat and help the artists to continue to evolve and develop their projects.”

All ticket prices include entry to the show/performance and a chance to meet the artists and have a chat about the performance afterwards. They also include a post-performance drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from the museum’s Café. For more information about the season, or to buy tickets, click the button below.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Sun 26 Mar - Sun 23 Apr, Manchester Jewish Museum,
190 Cheetham Hill Rd, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 8LW
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Thu 23 Feb 2023