For Beersheva Theater (BT) artistic director Rafi Niv, it’s not about what but about whom.“Casting can make the difference between a good and a great show,” he explains, “which is why we make our choice of plays vis a vis the strengths of the company.”Usually a season has five new productions, but over 2016–17 there will be six because the theater is inaugurating an intimate 100-seat performance space with a music-theater show to be called If We Know How to Love, dedicated to the songs of Jacques Brel.The opening production is Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers (November 2016), with Liat Goren as iron-willed Grandma Kurnitz and Shiri Gindy as the excitable Bella. The director is Micha Loewensohn.Other productions include Terrible Parents by Jean Cocteau, with Shiri Golan as a mother envious of her son’s lover. The director is Gadi Roll, a former BT artistic director; A Tale of Love and Darkness – the Klausners (May 2017), an adaptation by Aya Kaplan of the superb autobiography by Amos Oz; another adaptation by the prolific duo of Shahar Pinchas and Shir Goldberg, We Don’t Duel These Days, from the short-story collection of that name by Vladimir Nabokov (March 2017); and Alan Ayckbourne’s romantic comedy the wacky Relatively Speaking, whose major theme is muddle with a happy ending, featuring prize-winning Inbar Danon as Jenny.Moving into 2018, there are The Merchant of Venice, to be directed by Ido Ricklin, and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands after the book by Jorge Amado, with Irad Rubinstein directing. Fine directors, both. An interesting season, too.The Beersheva Theater is also inaugurating a children’s theater in the Old City, to be staffed entirely by graduates from the local arts and theater schools.