Dozens of artists working in a variety of fields have signed on to participate in the coming season of the British-Israeli Arts Training Scheme, a cultural exchange program designed to encourage mutual understanding between Israelis and citizens of the UK.
Now in its 12th year, BI ARTS will be celebrating its "bat mitzva" throughout its upcoming season, said Julia Smith, the British Council in Israel's assistant director, at a press conference in Tel Aviv last week.
Artists participating in the upcoming BI ARTS events include Nicholas Hytner, the acclaimed theater director and filmmaker responsible for movies including The Madness of King George and the 1996 Hollywood production of The Crucible. Hytner will take part in a panel discussion next month about five Israeli political dramas being staged at London's National Theatre, the venue he's run since 2003.
As part of the new BI ARTS season, the National Theatre will host English-language readings of the selected Israeli plays, all of which deal with the theme "Conflicts and Confrontations." The plays include Hanoch Levin's classic satire You and Me and the Next War, as well as Tamir Greenberg's more recent and controversial Hebron.
The National Theatre performances, which will be staged between October 8 and 10, will be followed up in Israel in February at Tel Aviv's Habimah National Theater, which will stage five English political dramas translated into Hebrew and performed by Israeli actors.
Other BI ARTS highlights should take a variety of artistic forms, including the participation of English performers at the Jerusalem Early Music Workshop, which kicks off Friday and runs through October 6 at the Jerusalem Music Center.
Performances and lectures will take place in fields ranging from dance to architecture. Events taking place in Israel include a master acting class taught by English stage star Rosemary Ashe, as well as January's eighth annual British Film Festival.
Israelis going to England as part of the BI ARTS program include lighting designer and Holon Technological Institute lecturer Dorit Melin, who will attend a first-of-its-kind conference for professional lighting designers next month in London.
Beginning in January, six Israeli students will spend a month studying at London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, where they'll join 10 English contemporaries in creating an original theatrical production.
BI ARTS is a joint effort of the British Council, Israel's Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Culture, Science and Sport. Additional information can be found at http://www.britishcouncil.org/israel-arts-culture.htm.