[The workshop] was lovely and well run and had a gentle and friendly approach to bring people together, break the ice and get participants involved.
At the beginning of 2019, we held a series of free drama workshops exploring the often hidden and unknown histories of Sephardi Jews in England. They were held in the Education Centre at Bevis Marks Synagogue, central London, the oldest synagogue in the UK. The workshops were open to all, and the people who came were a range of ages and backgrounds, with our youngest participant aged four and our eldest was in his 80s.
Our intentions for the workshops were:
- To bring together a cross section of people of all ages and backgrounds
- To challenge traditional narratives which have ignored Jewish lives in England from 1066
- To reveal some of the lives and stories of Sephardi Jews arriving in London
- To explore and learn this history in an accessible, practical and fun way
- To generate imaginative responses to the history
- To expand our current knowledge of Sephardi history
- To listen to the histories of the participants and synagogue staff
- To bring people into spaces they may have not visited before, or even known existed. We focused on Bevis Marks Synagogue and The Novo Cemetery
- To tour the Synagogue and to tour the Cemetery
- To promote future aspects of the project and engage with people who may be interested in its development
I managed to learn a lot without it feeling like a lecture or a bore.