As part of the global celebration of World Theatre Day, in collaboration with Austin Circle of Theaters, we presented a staged reading and discussion of Caryl Churchill’s controversial work, Seven Jewish Children, at the Dougherty Arts Center on March 27, 2009.
In the aftermath of the Israel/Gaza war in January, noted playwright Caryl Churchill crafted this emotional response. Structured to reflect seven key moments in Israel’s history, Churchill asks how parents would explain these complex events to their child. The February premiere at the Royal Court Theatre created a firestorm in the London press as editorials and columns debated whether or the play was inherently anti-Semitic.
This Austin premiere, read by a cast of Austin luminaries, was followed by a discussion facilitated by Robert Faires and C. Denby Swanson. While the reading lasted only 10 minutes, the discussion after lasted over an hour.
The reading was the first attempt by Cambiare Productions to live-stream a performance to the internet. It took much longer to set up than anticipated, but was watched from countries all over the world.
About World Theatre Day:
World Theatre Day was created in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). It is celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion. One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace. The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau (France) in 1962. The 2009 International message was written by Augusto Boal.
Directed by Travis Bedard
Cast: Robert Matney, Heather Barfield Cole, Paula Gilbert, Jenny Underwood, Robert Deike, Norman Blumensaadt, and Ev Lunning, Jr.