Festival returns to shed light on British and Israeli cultures

Israeli and British cultures will be explored in the seventh annual SHE festival in South West London.

The promenade theatre event takes an in-depth look at the theme of separation across the two countries and different generations as it makes use of the space in OSO Arts Centre in Barnes.

Co-directors Alexa Christopher-Daniels and Dorit Nitai Neman choreograph the actors’ experiences into short plays in London and Tel-Aviv, which are brought together during the festival in March.

Alexa, 32, said: “For me personally, I lived and worked in Israel for five years, this festival is the chance to strengthen the connection between two cultures and bring them into contact in a way they wouldn’t otherwise.

“SHE festival is about people’s stories and it’s about bringing people into contact with each other and some of the friendships that have continued between the participants of the festival is really moving .

“They’re people who would never have met and experienced each other’s work otherwise.”

The opening of the festival starts with an 11-year-old Israeli granddaughter and her grandfather, played by Eli and Lucy Wagner, debating what the other knows of loss and at the end of the performance audience members are split into groups to explore the themes.

This year’s festival features two British artists, Jacky Clarke and playwright Brian Daniels, who is Alexa’s own father, alongside Mayaan Vorder and Naomi Ben Assa who have travelled from Tel Aviv to experience working in London’s fringe theatre.

Alexa added: “We have lots of different people taking part and we don’t always work with the same theatre companies but me and Dorit are always the common factors.

“We tend to bring two or three artists each from our respective countries.

“My co-director Dorit founded the festival in Israel in a theatre called the Karov theatre in 2006, but the director she was working with at the time sadly passed away. This meant Dorit didn’t do the festival for several years.”

The pair revived the festival after Alexa completed an internship at the Karov Theatre in Tel-Aviv in 2010 and since them they have put on about six festivals across England and Israel.

Alexa said: “I’d love this instalment to be done is Israel.

“I really hope the festival will continue to get bigger and better and I’m excited to be doing it again as I think it’s about two years since we did the last one.”

Alexa hope to take SHE festival to other countries including Prague, but said they needed funding in order to do so.

The festival takes place on the March 1 and 2, visit www.osoarts.org.uk or call 020 8876 9885 for tickets.

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