דלג לתוכן דלג לפוטר

Beit Lessin theatre in honor of Baruch Ivcher is a leading public theatre in Israel. The theatre produces and runs an excellent, diverse repertoire of the best in Israeli and international plays, emphasizing contemporary work and local talent. Beit Lessin’s plays are performed each night on three separate stages in Tel Aviv, as well as in various theaters throughout the country.

The success of Beit Lessin, under the direction of Tzipi Pines, is unparalleled. The theater premieres 10-12 new productions each season, of which three to four are world premieres of new Israeli plays. The rest of the repertoire is painstakingly assembled from the most talked-about contemporary international plays, as well as from new adaptations of classical plays and modern classics.

Creating an Identity

The theatre was founded in 1980 by Yaakov Agmon with the support of the Histadrut (Israel’s Workers’ Union) and operated out of a small, 300-seat auditorium in Tel Aviv. In 1993, Tzipi Pines, then the esteemed exiting director of the Be'er Sheva Theater, was appointed CEO and artistic director of Beit Lessin. Pines' appointment was a turning point for the young theater; she went on to build it into the leading repertory theater it is today.

It did not occur overnight. The rise of Beit Lessin is the outcome of Pines’ consistent strategy, which created a new identity and agenda for the theater, making it a home for Israeli playwrights. The theater produced new works from leading Israeli playwrights, including Hillel Mittelpunkt, Shmuel Hasfari, Hadar Galron, Goren Agmon, and Miriam Kainy. In time, these contemporary voices became identified with the work and artistic language of Beit Lessin. Additionally, the theater cultivated a troupe of excellent actors who have become affiliated with Beit Lessin. During the following years, the theater’s activity expanded, and its membership—both in Tel Aviv and throughout the country—increased. Today, about 850,000 audience members all across Israel attend an average of 1,300 performances each year.

In 2004, the theater, which by then had begun receiving support from the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport, had relocated to its current home on Tel Aviv’s central Dizengoff Street. With the help of Tel Aviv’s Mayor Ron Huldai, Beit Lessin began receiving steady financial support from the city.

Achievements and Awards

In 1993, Beit Lessin premiered Italian playwright Eduardo De Filippo’s Filumena Marturano. The exceptional success of the production, with a star performance by Yona Elian-Keshet in the title role and Sasson Gabai as Domenico, marked the path for years to come. The two actors had been crowned the power couple of Israeli theater, amplifying the prestige of Beit Lessin, with which they had been affiliated.

The critical and box-office success of playwright Shmuel Hasfari’s trilogy of plays: Kiddush (1985), Chametz (1995), and Shiva’a (1996), staged by Beit Lessin between the years 1995-1998, helped crystallize the theater’s new artistic identity.

In 1995, Beit Lessin was awarded, for the first time, several major awards as part of that year’s Israeli Theater Awards ceremony. Chametz, written and directed by Shmuel Hasfari, won Best Play, Playwright of the Year, and Best Leading Actress. That year marked a new legacy of award-winning plays and performances.

These are some of the Israeli Theater Awards winning productions by Beit Lessin Theater:

1995

Chametz: Best Play, Playwright of the Year (Shmuel Hasfari), Best Leading Actress (Miriam Zohar), Best Supporting Actress (Dvora Kedar).

1996

Shiva’a: Playwright of the Year (Shmuel Hasfari), Best Supporting Actor (Dov Navon), Most Promising Actor (Tal Mosseri).

1997

The Venetian Twins: Entertainment Show of the Year.

1998

Assassins: Best Musical.

Popcorn: Entertainment Show of the Year.

The Labor of Life: Actor of the Year (Yossi Banai)

1999

The Odd Couple: Actor of the Year (Sasson Gabai)

Little Voice: Actress of the Year (Rama Messinger)

2000

The Memory of Water: Best Supporting Actress (Tiki Dayan)

2001

A Letter to Noa: Playwright of the Year (Goren Agmon), Most Promising Actor (Ofer Seker), Most Promising Actress (Maya Dagan).

2002

Ismailia: Playwright of the Year (Hillel Mittelpunkt), Best Supporting Actor (Avi Oria).

I'm Not Rappaport: Best Remake, Actor of the Year (Yossi Pollak).

2003

Mirele Efros: Best Remake.

The Accident: Best Supporting Actress (Leora Rivlin).

2004

Mikveh: Production of the Year, Most Promising Actress (Anat Magen Shabo).

I’m Talking to You in Chinese: Playwright of the Year (Savyon Liebrecht), Best Supporting Actress (Meirav Gruber).

2005

The Indian Patient: Playwright of the Year (Reshef Levi), Most Promising Actor (Oshri Cohen).

Thrill: Actress of the Year (Dafna Rechter), Best Supporting Actress (Naomi Promovich).

2006

Apples from the Desert: Playwright of the Year (Savyon Liebrecht), Best Supporting Actress (Rivka Neumann), Most Promising Actress (Gali Ben Giat).

2008

Anda: Production of the Year, Playwright of the Year (Hillel Mittelpunkt), Actress of the Year (Keren Tzur).

2009

The Banality of Love: Best Original Play (playwright Savyon Liebrecht and director Avishai Milstein).

2010

Rochaleh’s Wedding: Playwright of the Year ( Savyon Liebrecht), Best Original Play, Production of the Year, Actor of the Year (Sasson Gabai).

Makolet: Actress of the Year (Tiki Dayan).

2011

His Mother: Actress of the Year (Asi Levi).

2012

World Cup Wishes: Most Promising Actor (Haike Malka).

2014

The Revisionist: Actress of the Year (Leora Rivlin).

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Actor of the Year (Nadav Nites).

The Disabled: Best Comedy Production, Playwright of the Year (Gur Koren).

2015

The Father: Best Translated Play, Actor of the Year (Sasson Gabai).

The Taming of the Shrew: Best Comedy Production.

2016

The Mountain Does Not Move: Best Director (Irad Rubinstein), Most Promising Actor (Shadi Mar'i).

The Closet: Best Comedy Production.

2017

King of the Dogs: Best Director (Irad Rubinstein), Most Promising Actor (Ofri Biterman).

New Home, New Creative Generation

Starting in 2000, the Beit Lessin Theater has hosted the annual Open Stage Festival, shining a light on contemporary Israeli playwriting, and showcasing work by emerging writers, directors, and actors. The festival has become a vital launchpad for emerging playwrights, due to the mentorship and support offered by the theater. Among the plays developed as part of the Open Stage Festival that went on to gain local and international acclaim are Hadar Galron’s Mikveh, Reshef Levi’s The Indian Patient, and Roni Kuban’s Real Estate.

In 2003, Beit Lessin relocated to its current home on Tel Aviv’s central Dizengoff Street. The new, larger auditorium, fit for the fast-growing theater, now had 900 seats (up from 300). The theater continued staging smaller-scale productions in theaters in Tel Aviv and throughout the country.

Beit Lessin’s new location was inaugurated with the prestigious production of the late Polish-Jewish playwright Matityahu Shoham’s Tire and Jerusalem, supported by a generous donation by the Beracha Foundation. That same season, the theater staged a production of the musical Chicago. It was the first in a long list of musical productions Beit Lessin will go on to produce in the years to come, which include Guys and Dolls, Spring Awakening, and Blood Brothers.

In 2005, Hillel Mittelpunkt, one of the Israeli theater’s most prominent contemporary voices, was named chief playwright and artistic advisor of Beit-Lessin. This marked a crowning moment in the theater’s journey to shape a repertoire of contemporary Israeli playwriting.

In 2008, Beit Lessin introduced its youth troupe, as part of the theater’s artistic vision to serve as a home for young, innovative, and contemporary creation, and be a launchpad to a new generation of theater professionals. The young group members enjoyed the mentorship and guidance of the theater’s more veteran members. From this group emerged the new generation of theater artists who went on to take central posts in Israeli theater today.

That same year, Beit Lessin inaugurated a children’s repertory theater, Israel’s only theater to perform a variety of high-quality theater productions for kids. With the goal of igniting the love of theater in future generations, the series exposed kids across the country to plays including The Wizard of Oz, Pinocchio, and The Angel.

In 2012, Beit Lessin, together with the Stage-Center foundation, opened a playwriting school, another part the theater’s consistent effort to encourage and support Israeli playwriting. The school is unique to other programs because it operates inside a prominent repertory theater. Students here receive close artistic mentorship, and the opportunity to work closely and collaborate with other theater professionals-in-training.

To take its educational activity further, Beit Lessin is working to establish a performing arts academy. The planned institute is a first of its kind in Israel, teaching all theatrical professions—including acting, directing, playwriting, design, and production management—under one roof. The activity of the school will be incorporated into the theater's ongoing operations.

International Success and Collaborations

In 2010, Beit Lessin’s production of Savyon Liebrecht’s play The Banality of Love opened the prestigious annual Heidelberger Stückemarkt festival in Heidelberg, Germany. The play’s subsequent tour, which gained critical and box-office success, marked the theater’s entry into the international theater festival scene.

Beit Lessin earned international recognition thanks to artistic collaborations with theaters in Germany. The Israeli theater has staged seven co-productions with the leading German theaters Theater & Orchester Heidelberg and Badisches Staatstheater. At the heart of the collaboration is the development of new work that takes an innovative approach to the complex history of the two nations.

In 2015, Israel and Germany celebrated 50 years of diplomatic ties. Beit Lessin led the cultural celebrations, staging several productions with both Israeli and German actors. The productions were performed in Israel and Germany in Hebrew, German, and English.

In 2011, Beit Lessin presented the Israeli premiere of Le Prénom, by French playwrights Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière. Quickly rising to great critical and box-office success, it marked the beginning of new collaborations with contemporary French playwrights. Since then, Beit Lessin has made a point to include other French works in its repertoire, including plays by Francis Veber (Cher Trésor, The Closet) and Florian Zeller ( La Vérité, Le Mensonge, Une Heure de tranquillité, and Le Père). Beit Lessin’s production of Zeller’s Le Père, The Father, won the Israeli Theater Award for best production of 2014.

Innovation and Renovation

In 2014, Beit Lessin Theater entered an extensive renovation and expansion that will cement its role as an innovative cultural center at the heart of Tel Aviv. Beit Lessin’s own historical 800-seat auditorium, built 50 years ago and known for its excellent acoustics and its unique structure designed to enhance the connection between actors and audience, will undergo a thorough renovation. A second, intimate 380-seat auditorium will be built adjacent to the original hall, where Hod Cinema, a Tel Aviv cultural icon, once stood. The intimate theater is set to host both modern and classical productions which are best suited for a small stage.

Beit Lessin’s lobby, backstage area, and actors’ rooms will also undergo renovation, and stage facilities, including sound and lighting systems, will be upgraded and expanded, setting the stage for the highest level of professional performances. The renewed Beit Lessin Theater will be able to accommodate its artists with the most advanced stage technology available. This will allow the theater to promote technologically innovative productions.

The ambitious renovation is carried out with the aid of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality, through its "Center for the Performing Arts" company, and the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport.

The inauguration of the new theater, in the heart of Tel Aviv, is a marker of excellence to a mature, acclaimed theater, still able to maintain its youthful, innovative spirit. The demolition of the old theater and the establishment, in its stead, of an innovative new cultural complex, are a clear testimony to the trust the city of Tel Aviv has in the vision of Beit Lessin’s director, Tzipi Pines.

However, the theater’s transition into a new home comes with significant and unforeseen expenses, that go beyond its operating budget. Your contribution to Beit Lessin’s process of settling into its new home is essential to the theater’s ongoing activity and his continued prosperity. Beit Lessin’s continued operation eternalizes its benefactors as well as the very faith in the power of theater, as an artistic and social instrument.

Friends of the Theater

The Friends of Beit Lessin Association was founded in 2006. Today, it has some 400 members, private theater-lovers as well as public personas and people holding key positions in Israeli culture, business, and industry.  The association is a partner in the cultural activities of the theater, and its importance is invaluable. It is the safety net, essential to the very existence of the theater, and it serves as the basis to the public’s support for the theater.

The association’s activities are intended to empower the theater by supporting its productions and its staff.

Friends of Beit Lessin is active in the following areas:

Raising funds and recruiting sponsorships.

Assisting with special productions.

Promoting social and cultural projects to foster theater culture.

Promoting activities to benefit actors and employees of Beit Lessin and for purchasing equipment.

Supporting Beit Lessin’s playwriting school.

The Beit Lessin Excellence fund, founded by The Friends of Beit Lessin Association, awards merit scholarships, awards, and development grants to playwrights, actors, and theater employees. The awards ceremony event is attended by association members, luminaries of Israeli theater, and other public figures.

Friends of Beit Lessin enjoy invitations to premieres and other events, such as artists meeting, the opportunity to attend rehearsals, and galas.

Today, more than ever, Beit Lessin needs the backing of its friends. At a time when culture everywhere cries out for support, it is the friends of the theater that help it fulfill its vision of Israeli culture.

As the theater prepares to enter its new home, the association takes on a crucial role in raising funds necessary for the theater’s activity.

The Friends of Beit Lessin Association welcomes people, companies, and enterprises as members.

Founder and Honorary Chairwoman of the Friends of Beit Lessin Association: the late Mrs. Jenny Brandes

Association Chairwoman: Hila Rahav

The Theater’s Vision

At Beit Lessin Theater we believe in the power and cultural relevance of the theater arts. No other art form allows for as lively an encounter to happen between a diverse audience seeking an artistic experience and living artists, full of talent and imagination.

We believe in the theater’s social mission, and its ability to encourage discussion and create change.

We believe in new and communicative works, in promoting great artists, and in nurturing excellent actors.

Due to our consistent approach, we have made Israeli theater the campfire of its natural audience. As a leading theater, we are proud to continue using our stage to tell the story of this country.

A home for Israeli Creation

At Beit Lessin Theater, we strive to present work that depicts the unique, constantly-evolving, and vibrant culture of Israel.

We support the development of new Israeli plays, out of the belief that contemporary Israeli work belongs in center-stage.

Contemporary International Theater

Beit Lessin shares with its audience the most attractive contemporary international plays, thus setting itself at the same level as other leading theaters worldwide. Beit Lessin emphasizes collaboration with major international theaters and co-productions that help draw global awareness to the unique Israeli experience and culture.

Beit Lessin is an esteemed ambassador of Israeli theater culture.

Nurturing Future Generations

Beit Lessin nurtures the future generation of Israeli playwrights through a variety of activities, events, and collaborations. The theater continuously works to admit young actresses and actors to its troupe. The plays and projects the theater initiates and promotes add to the repertoire of new Israeli plays, and the creation of modern Israeli classics, to be enjoyed by generations to come.

From the Center to the Periphery

Beit Lessin is true to the unique Israeli tradition of the traveling theater. Our productions are performed across the country. Throughout its existence, Beit Lessin has staged more performances outside of Israel’s major urban centers than any other Israeli theater, according to data by cultural research company Pilat. This is why it is considered a major player in transforming Israeli theater into an international success story.

Excellence

Beit Lessin’s commitment to excellence is affirmed by its glorious record having won 80 Israeli Theater Awards.

Giving Back to the Community

Beit Lessin gives back to the community regularly. It was the first theater in Israel to adapt productions for the blind and visually impaired. It regularly stages performances adapted to the hearing-impaired and accompanied by subtitles. The theater also holds performances for students and IDF soldiers, which include conversations with the actors and creators, which allow for a rare insight into the creative process.

Committed to the Future

With our entry into the theater’s new residence, we are committed to making it into a home for cultural and artistic creation, good taste and open dialogue, a home for innovative thought and a tradition of excellence.

We are committed to creating new plays, which will go on to be considered modern classics for future generations to enjoy. We are committed to presenting varied and unforgettable theatrical events. In this new residence, we will nurture the next generations of playwrights and actors. Here, we will expose new inquiring audiences to the art of theater, bring people together, and make a positive impact on the cultural and creative achievements of Israel.

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