Welcome to One Lost Stone, part of our Discovering and Documenting England’s Lost Jews project. Here is a voyage of discovery inspired by the history of the Sephardi Heritage in England. This digital travel guide vividly and creatively brings stories and history to life through performance, artwork and creative media. The various elements of these many journeys are synthesised through the paintings of Sephardi artist Anne Sassoon. Each painting presents a different but complementary aspect of this multi-facetted discovery as a visual, textual, musical historical travel guide.
ONE LOST STONE is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and produced by Pascal Theatre Company.
Artistic Director of Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews : Julia Pascal
One Lost Stone
Sephardi Heritage in England -a digital travel guide
Artistic Direction, Concept & Visuals: Thomas Kampe
Producer: Susannah Kraft Levene
Compositions & Sound Design: Ronen Kozokaro
Paintings: Anne Sassoon
Historical Research: Stéphane Goldstein & Sally Mijit
Assistant Director: Matt Emeny
Web Development: Frog Morris
Online Marketing: Natalie Beech
Actors: Tiran Aakel, Atilla Akinci, Jessica Claire, Norma Cohen, Tiago Gambogi, Max Griffiths, Gillian Harris, Jonathan Hansler, Ags Irwin, Ruth Lass, Fiz Marcus, Jeanette Maykels, Samanatha Pearl and her baby Pearl Knoop, David Ricardo-Pearce, Miguel Ron, Xavier de Santos, Anna Savva, Delicia Sefiha, Ruth D’Silva, Peter Silverleaf, Roger Sloman, Saria Steyl, Sam de la Torre.
Oral Histories: Haim Algranati, Nadia Arditti, Ralf Arditti, Raya Brody, Basil Jeuda, Ronen Kozokaro, Maisie Meyer, Sylvia Manassah, Alec Nacamuli, Guy Sasson, David Tachauer.
ONE LOST STONE workshop performers: Tiran Aakel, Deborah Beale, Rob Bellamy, Jasmine Chiswell, Fraser Clark, Norma Cohen, Caitlin Daly, Seer Dindial, Sam Edwards, Maeve Elmore, Odette Gaba, Isidore Gaba, Anne Goldstein, Jess Hatton, Laura Higgins, Pablo Laguna, Julia Langley, Gabrielle Levy, Fiz Marcus, Billie-Jo Rainbird, Zoe Reeve, Aso Sherabayani, Clare Shinebourne, Ruth D’Silva, Saria Steyl, Astrid Swenson, Mattea Thomas-Gray.
Thanks to everyone involved in the making of ONE LOST STONE, the Creative Corporealities Research Group (CCRG) of Bath Spa University and to Jules Deering at Queen Mary University of London.
One Lost Stone
One Lost Stone was initially designed as an immersive performance event. This was to be a guided tour around the Sephardi Novo Cemetery in Mile End, London, inviting audiences into a participatory journey inspired by Sephardi legacies in England.
The changing pandemic circumstances created an obstacle for me as project director. How could I envisage an alternative journey through history as appropriate form of artistic and educational expression? We had enough resources to create a mosaic web-resource journeying across timelines and cultures. Had I not just learnt that many Sephardim around the Mediterranean had been excellent navigators who could respond with speed, skill and intelligence?
One Lost Stone has grown into an exciting and complex multi-media resource as a digital travel guide. It offers written texts, podcasts, collages, videos, soundtracks and paintings by Sephardi artist Anne Sassoon. It synthesises an entangled world of inter-cultural discovery and documentation
Our research reveals Sephardi immigration to England as a vital part in the building and consolidating of the modern British Empire and its colonial heritage. How can we respond to this complex history through artistic means today, in 2020?
The poetically layered material produced for this project gives voice to the disenfranchised, the poor and to women. It has been a privilege to layer our texts with Anne Sassoon’s artwork. These beautifully raw and starkly atmospheric paintings are balanced with collaged graphics and videos which give each page a distinct identity. Anne Sassoon also has a gallery page of her own paintings.
The website offers an interwoven resource for contemplation in evocative, thought-provoking and often entertaining ways. It is advised to perhaps visit one or a few pages a time before returning to another ‘chapter’. Each page has a central focus of a summary text accompanied by a recorded spoken version and there are satellite recordings and contextual pages with more information.
I hope that you find the experience of navigating through One Lost Stone a touching monument to a nearly forgotten history. Enjoy your adventures across the site.
Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews
Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews emerged as an idea over several years. Perhaps even in primary school. Our first history lesson used us five year olds to reveal various waves of invasion. Miss Tickle – yes that really was her name – informed us that a redhead was a Celt. A dark haired boy was a product of the Roman invasion. A blonde was surely a descendent of the Anglo-Saxon period. When it was my turn, there was an awkward silence. Miss Tickle looked at the only girl in class with wild, curly hair. She found herself unable to say the word ‘Jew’. She moved on.
A child wants to know about family identity and how she fits in to the grand historical narrative. School has an authority and offers the official story. At five, I felt this un/ease around the word ‘Jew’. I did not know why. It took me years to understand that the British historical narrative was white and Christian. We Jews were difficult to place within this. The project is an attempt to address the absence of the Jewish story in England which is why it focuses on the return of Jews into a land which expelled them.
Those who came to England secretly in 1656 and before, Sephardi Jews whose origins are in the Iberian Peninsula is not my family history which is why it was fascinating discovering a Spanish and Portuguese Jewish culture within seventeenth century England. My grandparents and great grandparents were Ashkenazi Jews. They emigrated from Eastern Europe. My great grandparents moved to Romania to escape Russian pogroms. My grandparents emigrated from Bucharest to Manchester. Their English was a mixture of Yiddish and Lancashire. This is a long way from some of the ‘higher-class’ Sephardi English experience. The gulf in culture, language and history between Sephardim and Ashkenazim is wide because the journeys of each group was so different. It is this ignorance of the Sephardi heritage that I wished to address when exploring this project.
My question was, and perhaps still is, why is the Jewish presence so marginalised in British history? Research into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries reveals how the English court and establishment used a few multilingual Jews to act as its agents and as international couriers. These were notable men whose names are archived.
Our research discovered that few women’s voices had been noted in Sephardi narratives. This was something we address in our findings and in our presentation of this project.
The emergence of the 2020 Black Lives Matter brought a poignancy to the work. Examination of power structures, the marginalisation of a person deemed to be ‘different’, the search for a land to live in safely and be buried in with dignity, the importance of a name on a gravestone, to be acknowledged and not ignored- these were the themes that jumped out in the research and which are still current for other marginalised people. The Sephardim have integrated into British life but their history is still largely unknown among the generations living in Britain today. It informs us of buried layers of life on this island.
Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews is aimed at opening up a new interest in the Jewish flight from Spain, Portugal and other diasporas to show how they, as a microcosm, reveal British life.
Our title points to the missing stories from the nation’s official narrative. We are aware that it is not the Jews that were lost but a British history which chose to lose them from the pages of the book of national identity. Our work is an attempt to reveal the importance of Jewish life in England and Britain and to place the Jew within the mainstream so that her story is not erased from history.