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News Release

YAYA TOUR TO QUEBEC CITY
April 1, 2004

A Successful Intercultural and Intercommunity Encounter

YAYA, Young Actors for Young Audiences, the youth wing of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre has just returned from a tour to Quebec City where they performed at the close of Action Week Against Racism (AWAR). YAYA presented the play, No More Raisins, No More Almonds: Children’s Ghetto Songs written by child survivor and educator, Batia Bettman, and directed by Bryna Wasserman, Artistic Director of the Yiddish and English Theatres of the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts.

Having seen a performance at the SBC Theatre, the two founders of AWAR, Alix Laurent, the Executive Director of Images Interculturelles and Maurice Chalom, the Director of Intercultural Affairs for the City of Montreal, invited YAYA to be their major Quebec City programme on March 29-30, 2004

Bryna Wasserman decided to respond positively to this opportunity because she felt, “the faces and voices of our youth are an excellent vehicle to foster intercultural understanding. At a time of rising anti-Semitism and the upsurge of other forms of racism and hatred in the world, we need to build bridges through the arts.”

The reaction in Quebec City was very positive. As France Plourde, Director of Communications for the 27 libraries of the L'Institut Canadien de Québec wrote to us:

“Je voulais simplement te dire à quel point j'ai apprécié le spectacle hier soir. J'ai pleuré. C'est la première fois que je vois un spectacle amateur qui soit aussi professionnel. Continuez votre magnifique travail!”
The Tauben Family Foundation sponsors the YAYA programme as well as the tour to Quebec. Several other organizations collaborated on the Quebec tour: The Henry & Berenice Kaufmann Foundation. L’Institut Canadien de Québec, Bibliothéque Gabrielle-Roy, R.I.R.E. 2000 and Images Interculturelles, in addition to AWAR.

High school students from Séminaire St-François , St-Patrick High School, Séminaire des Pères Maristes, Québec High School and l’école des Sentiers attended the three daytime performances. While No More Raisins, No More Almonds: Children’s Ghetto Songs is a play about teenagers in a ghetto during the Holocaust, it also resonates with significance for the fate of many children in today’s world. The post-performance discussions in French, between the students on stage and in the audience, centred on the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the impact of this play.

This two-year long YAYA project with performances at the SBC Theatre in February and September 2004 has given the 36 performers from Bialik High School a deep connection to Jewish history, the Yiddish language and culture in a very deep and to the value of theatre.

A VIP performance also took place on March 29th at 7:30PM in the auditorium of the Bibliothèque Gabrielle-Roy. After a fascinating post-performance discussion led by Maurice Chalom, the small Jewish community in Quebec City hosted a reception.

A dozen songs written during the Holocaust form the backbone of this play. The title, No More Raisins, No More Almonds, is a parody of a Yiddish lullaby. As always, the songs were performed in their original Yiddish. For this tour, the dialogue of the play was performed in both English and French. Translation was provided through supertitles.

For further information, contact:
Edit Kuper, Special Projects Coordinator,
(514) 739-2301, ext, 345, ekuper@saidyebronfman.org
For AWAR:
Alix Laurent, Executive-Director, (514) 842-7127, images@biz.videotron.ca