Opening the gates – IsraDrama

IsraDrama is an annual event whose aim is to expose Israeli theatre to the international theatre community. I was invited to attend as the Australian representative at the 2007 event, alongside theatre practitioners, from countries as diverse as Kenya, Nigeria, Slovenia, Serbia, Germany, Poland, Costa Rico, Sweden, Hong Kong, England, and the USA.
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IsraDrama is an annual event whose aim is to expose Israeli theatre to the international theatre community. Organised by the Institute of Israeli Drama and hosted by the Cameri Theatre, it is the brainchild of the Cameri’s charismatic Director General, Noam Semel. Its success is also due to his incredible staff and partners, including the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport.

Israeli theatre is certainly alive – rated by UNESCO as having one of the leading spectator numbers per capita. In Tel Aviv alone, with a population of only 350,000, there are at least 40 theatre performances at any one time and all well attended! Theatre is part of the culture, the fabric of the society. And it ranges from the well-made play to a strong independent scene, to political theatre consisting mainly of collaborations between Palestinian and Israeli artists.

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Deborah Leiser-Moore
About the Author
Deborah has been working in physical contemporary theatre since 1989. Her devised solo and collaborative works include The Memory Room, Aqua Azzura and Possessed/Dispossessed (Entr'acte Theatre), a room with no air, HUNGRY, The Cool Room (Green Room Award nominee), HazChem!, The Girl Who Wanted to be God (nominated for QLD and VIC Premiers' Awards), and A Thousand Doors A Thousand Windows. She has toured nationally and internationally, including Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide International Festivals, Toga Festival, Japan, Magdalena Aotearoa Festival in Wellington NZ, Sydney’s Carnivale Festival, The International Women’s Playwrights Festival in Athens, Greece, and a residency in Israel with Te’atron HaNefesh. Deborah has studied in Japan with Tadashi Suzuki, trained in the work of Ettiene Decroux, taught in many universities, presented her work at many conferences and has been the recipient of a number of grants. In June 2004, a compilation video of her work (Memory, Place, Reconciliation and the Body) was presented at the University of Bamberg, Germany, as part of the CDE conference. She completed a Masters in Performance at Victoria University with Here and There – Then and Now, a video-installation-performance work remounted at the Centre for Cross Cultural Research at Canberra’s ANU. In 2006, Deborah established Tashmadada, whose aim is to make edgy and challenging performance works. In 2006 Tashmadada had three new works in development - The Execution of Toto Nakamura, The Jewish King Lear and Wasted Underground. In March 2007 Deborah was invited to present her work (as a guest of the Australian Embassy) at the International Congress of Jewish Theatre in Vienna.