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Three Performance Events Announced For AJT's 2020 Virtual Conference

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The conference is being held online From Sunday, October 25th through Tuesday, October 27th.

The Alliance For Jewish Theatre announces the performance lineup for its 2020 Annual Conference, being held online From Sunday, October 25th through Tuesday, October 27th. Each day will feature performances showcasing a diverse sampling of Jewish theatrical storytelling from around the globe. Tickets for individual virtual performances range from $15 (for AJT members, students and seniors) to $25 (non-members). Those registered for the entire conference ($45 for AJT members and $75 for non-members) will have access to all performances as part of their conference experience.

"I'm excited by the breadth and scope of the work," says Hank Kimmel, AJT Board President of the performances being presented from across the U.S. and three other countries.

Partly due to this year's online format, AJT saw a record number of submissions for this year's conference. Of over 100 submitted pieces, 15 were selected to be showcased over the course of three events taking place Sunday, October 25th at 7pm EST; Monday, October 26th at 8pm EST; and Tuesday, October 27th at 3pm EST. Performances range from previously recorded video to live-via-the-internet presentations, and from improvisation to solo pieces.

"We were astounded by the amount of people and the variety of form and content that was submitted," says AJT Executive Director Jeremy Aluma. "The pandemic has created a unique fusion of live video theatre that certain artists and performers have already begun to embrace. The collection of performances speaks to many of the intersections in the Jewish theatre-making world. We don't know where we will land once this pandemic is over, but we know the world will never be the same. These performances encapsulate that changed world and offer hope for a better one to come."

Each performance segment at the Conference will consist of excerpts from several selected pieces. Some of these pieces have been previously recorded while others will be performed live. Some have had professional productions and some are still in development. "Our intent," says Kimmel, "is to help find homes for the wonderful work that we're showcasing."

The Performance Showcases will truly highlight the breadth and depth of Jewish stories being told in theatrical ways. Jews of color take center stage in pieces such as the new musical BJW (by Adena Walker and Erin Murray Quinlan) and in the story-cycle True Colors (curated and adapted by Ronda Spinak). Other excerpts offer unique perspectives on the legacy of the Holocaust, such as a comedy written in the Terezín Ghetto in 1944 called The Last Cyclist (by Karel Švenk, reconstructed and reimagined by Naomi Patz) and the story of a German-Jewish Holocaust refugee in America in Eight Nights (written by Jennifer Maisel).

There are plenty of laughs across the three performances, including a virtual interactive comedy show where you can win real shekels, Truth or Laughs? (written and performed by Comedy Central regulars Michelle Slonim and Ben Rosenfeld), as well as everyone's favorite Soviet Jewish Grandma clown coming to life in Baba Yana's Mindfulness and Guilt Healing Meditation (written and performed by Danielle Levsky).

This year will also feature several "outside-the-box" pieces, such as Asian-American improv troupe Killer Kimchi presenting Jewish Tales, and La Caja Negra from Uruguay creating their zoom friendly version of playback theatre on Jewish Holidays. (For a full line-up of performances and presenters, please see schedule below.)

Altogether, the performances will showcase how, as Board President Kimmel says, "The notion and purpose of Jewish theatre continues to evolve. At various times and in various ways, we expect our audience to laugh, think, cry, and most of all, be entertained."

"Audiences and conference attendees will see the complete range of 20th and 21st century Jewish experience represented," adds Executive Director Aluma. "We couldn't be more honored to showcase the work being done and hope that it will launch a robust season of Jewish performance no matter the platform."

Those wishing to attend AJT's Virtual 2020 Annual Conference Performances may purchase tickets at (October 25th performance), (October 26th performance) and (October 27th performance).

AJT has held its convention annually since 1982. Previous conferences took place across America and around the world, most recently in Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston. Previous featured performances include (dis)Place[d] by Debórah Eliezer, My Uncle Sam by Marc Frost, A People by L M Feldman, and The Man in the Sukkah by Deborah Yarchun.

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