Jewish artists who were involved in a row about cultural appropriation have formed a collective to encourage an industry-wide conversation about engaging with Jewish stories and representation in theatre.
Among its first projects will be the creation of a best-practice guide for theatre, which the artists have said they will begin work on soon.
Last month the group, now known as the Jewish Artists’ Collective, said in a letter that they felt Jews were not sufficiently represented on and off stage in British theatre.
Writing to the London producers of the musical Falsettos, they criticised the lack of Jewish presence in the rehearsal process, including performers and members of the creative team.
The musical, about a Jewish family, received its UK premiere this month at the Other Palace.
The artists have now come together to create the Jewish Artists’ Collective. It will draft a best-practice proposal for the industry and open a conversation with both Jewish and non-Jewish artists.
The original letter included signatories included actors Miriam Margolyes and Maureen Lipman.
In its first statement as the Jewish Artists’ Collective – addressed to Falsettos producer Selladoor Worldwide – the group said: “We hope that this dialogue will be the beginning of a longer, more in-depth, productive and industry-wide conversation around ethical, accurate and sensitive inclusion of Jewish culture ad identity on and off stage.”
A spokesman said the creation of the collective would be “an opportunity for us to be heard, collaborate and show solidarity with other minority groups”.
He stressed that the group did not want to discourage non-Jews from telling Jewish stories or playing Jewish roles, arguing that the issue extends beyond visible areas such as casting.
“We want to see our community respected, engaged with and represented when stories about us are told,” he said.
Following the initial letter, Selladoor responded about the lack of Jewish performers in its cast, arguing that it did not feel it was appropriate to ask individuals about their religion during auditions.