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Center Stage, the only professional English language theater in israel, exists to provide opportunities for our community to participate in live theater productions, offer enhanced educational opportunities for youth in various disciplines of performing arts and provide a venue for the presentation of classic, original, translated, thought-provoking and entertaining plays to our community.
As the only professional English theater in Israel we are in a unique position to connect with a global audience and reinforce the relationship between Israel, the Jewish diaspora and the world.
OUR CURRENT SITUATION
We are under threat of closure due to the financial difficulties we encountered during Covid where theaters in Israel were closed by government decree for a year. During this time we were ineligible for government support as we were a new venture, having opened in late October 2019. As such we received no income during this time.
Even when we were permitted to reopen, in February 2021, it was under very tight restrictions, limiting crowd sizes and requiring face masks, temperature checks and social distancing. In addition, according to rules laid out by the Health and Culture ministries, we were permitted to be open only to so-called Green Pass holders, who were either vaccinated or had recovered from COVID.
This situation continued well into 2022 as the unofficial lock-down of the Omicron variant swept through the country.
Any venture under these circumstances could not survive. But we did. However, we are now facing the threat of eviction brought on by these circumstance. We need your help to keep our theater alive and our voice heard.
WHEN WE STARTED
In February of 2019 we embarked on our dream of building a creative hub for English-language theater in Israel, a vibrant and inviting cultural center, a meeting place that inspires a creative exchange between artists, audiences and the community. With the help of our community and Angels, we built the theater with our own hands and opened in November 2019. A mere 107 days after opening, the Covid Pandemic struck and we wereeffectively closed for 14 consecutive months with no income whatsoever during this time.
A LOT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED IN 107 DAYS
Before Covid we employed over 30 artists, directors, producers, stage managers, lighting and sound technicians and an amazing crew. Together, and in just under four months, we managed to achieve the following:
- Hosted an award winning production from New York – “The Last Rat of Theresienstadt”
- Hosted a highly successful play – “The Wandering Israeli”
- Produced our first play – “Bad Jews” by Joshua Harmon - to rave reviews and sold-out shows
- Produced an original children’s show – “The Knick Knack Nook”
- Presented a sold-out comedy show for New Year’s Eve
- Produced our next play, “Rapture, Blister, Burn” by Gina Gianfriddo, to rave reviews and sold-out shows
- Hosted Eyal Sherf’s highly successful lecture performance – “The Sound of Goosesteps”
- Hosted Lenny Ravitz’s comedy lecture - “Dance Life Don’t Drag It”
- Hosted Dr. Isabel Berman’s “Political Satire Through the Ages in Theater, TV and Movies” lecture series.
- Performed the highly acclaimed Aliya comedy – “Together, Against the Odds”
- Opened our Youth Theater program
- Built an enthusiastic and appreciative community
PIVOTING DURING COVID
During Covid and the lockdowns we turned to the only platform available to us - the digital platform - and kept our community entertained and connected with chat shows, lectures, play festivals and more. We leveraged this platform to connect across borders; our 5 min play festivals received submissions from USA, UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and the Netherlands among others; we connected with JPP, the Jewish Plays Project based in New York, and we are proud that we were chosen to become the first representative of the JPP Play writing competition in Israel and the first theater partner for outside of the US. .
We created “On Cue”, a weekly zoom chat show in which we interviewed leading English-speaking creatives in Israel as well as in the US. We produced a total of 24 On Cue segments during the lockdown.
In total, we connected with more than 170 actors, comedians, directors, producers, dancers, playwrights, stage technicians, musicians and artists, and performed virtually to over 6000 audience members worldwide.
All these online events provided us with the opportunity to extend our reach beyond our border. However, they brought in little or no revenue.
EMERGING FROM DEVASTATION
When we were finally allowed to open again, we did so under very tight restrictions. We were also hampered by various variants and their impact due to unofficial closures. All these events interrupted our relaunch. But that did not stop us. We were determined to continue even at a reduced capacity and output. During this time, we have not been able to produce our own plays but rather hosted visiting productions and musicians as well as hosted a variety of events. Below is a sampling of the events we held.
YOUTH THEATER - PREPARING OUR YOUTH FOR THE WORLD STAGE
In addition to our shows and events, we have opened a youth theater program for kids aged 7 to 17. Theater education provides youth with the tools and skills needed in both their personal and business lives. The theater is an environment where their voices can be heard and where they can develop the empathy and responsibility needed to become future leaders. They are taught to be observant listeners, insightful creators, thoughtful critics, passionate thinker and committed leaders.
Furthermore, we are providing Israeli children with the opportunity to develop and improve their English in conjunction with all the above. Given English's prominence in the business world, this combination will prove highly advantageous for their future.
Center Stage is also committed to inclusiveness and equal opportunity and has created, together with generous donations, a scholarship program to enable under-served and under-privileged youth to attend the program. With your help, we can reach even more students and grow this program.
MAKING AN IMPACT
Despite the hardships of the past two years, we have maintained our vision of providing a warm and inviting space that is bigger than any one person; a gathering place for the community to connect and celebrate around great storytelling, from theater productions, cabaret music revues, stand-up comedy, live music, lectures and so much more. From the back of the stage to the front of the house, throughout our community and even overseas, we are making an impact and we’d like to thank you for being a part of our community.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
Your support can ensure our doors stay open. We invite you to be a part of breathing life back into and reinvigorating our wider community. Together, we will keep the lights on after two years of isolation, separation and devastation and reignite passion, creativity, and the sense of community.
Our theater plays a significant role in the community at large. By offering a plethora of activities that are inclusive, diverse and multi-cultural, Center Stage is making a social impact at home and abroad by improving community engagement and becoming a community destination.
As the only professional English theater in Israel we are in a unique position to connect with a global audience and reinforce the relationship between Israel, the Jewish diaspora and the world. Your commitment and support can ensure our recovery and growth as the creative hub of English arts and culture in Israel, and in so doing, enable us to share our voice and human experience on the world stage.
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