In 2013, Jerusalem-born Avital Raz released The Edinburgh Surprise, a song about a one-night stand between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man; stemming from this song and the controversy it caused, My Jerusalem is her story.
Avital takes the audience through moments in her upbringing in tumultuous 1980s Israel, and presents a nuanced exploration of the politics of division. Using live music, projected images and storytelling, Avital talks about her ethnicity and gender, about racism and the underlying fear that perpetuates it, and asks audiences to go beyond the blame game and see each other’s vulnerabilities and humanity. The show is accompanied by documentary Your Jerusalem, in which she interviews Israelis, Palestinians and people in the UK about the issues raised in the show.
Avital Raz said, “Lots of people have their own Jerusalem. Christians, Muslims, Jews, William Blake…. Itʼs a place heavily laden with peopleʼs projections. This show is about my experience of Jerusalem. A tale of child abuse, defiance and coming of age within a rigid society where religion and the military dominated. I wrote this show because I wanted to explore what happens when the occupation reaches the bedroom, and when the more vulnerable gender belongs to the occupying nation, and I wanted to present an intimate personal story to audiences that often only know about Jerusalem from what they see on the news.”
Avital Raz started out as a child singer of classical music. She studied at The School of Visual Theatre in Jerusalem and after completing degrees in vocal performance and composition, she shifted her focus to India where she studied the ancient art of Dhrupad singing. Avital now lives in Sheffield where she teaches Indian Classical music as well as performing her own material. My Jerusalem was created in early 2018 during a residency with Lancaster Arts/hÅb/ Making Room and further developed in 2019 as a WorksAhead commission with hÅb/Word of Warning/STUN + Contact in Manchester. Its national tour was cut short due to Covid.
My Jerusalem will be streamed via Applecart Arts 19 July – 7 August, 8pm.