Artist website: www.pascal-theatre.com
The actors of the TNC production, all English, will be Juliet Dante, Stefan Karsberg, Adi Lerer, Simeon Perlin and Anna Savva.
Julia Pascal was born in Manchester. As a teenager she went to E15 Acting School and worked as an actor for four years. Her career was at the Traverse Theatre, the Royal Court, Nottingham Playhouse, the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue as well as acting in TV, film and radio. Realizing she wished to move from acting to directing, she decided to read English at London University (Bedford College). After her graduation she became the first woman to direct at the National Theatre with her adaptation of Dorothy Parker’s writings, "Men Seldom Make Passes." This ran as a successful Platform Performance for two years. She was also a National Theatre company member.
Following this debut she was invited to be Associate Director at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond. There she directed plays by Bertolt Brecht, Alfonso Vallejo, Howard Barker and Fay Weldon before forming Pascal Theatre Company to stage New Writing. She has run this Company since 1983, focusing on writers on the margins of society. These included Seamus Finnegan, Karim Alrawi, Carole Rumens, Melanie Phillips, Yana Stajno. At the same time she worked as a freelance writer for The Guardian, The Times, The Financial Times and as a broadcaster for BBC Arts programs. During the 80s and early 90s, she was Dance Editor for the magazine City Limits. During this period, she was asked to be part of a collection of memoirs for Virago’s "Truth, Dare or Promise," edited by Liz Heron. Her essay "Prima Ballerina Assoluta" was included here and also in Boxtree’s publication "Memoirs of a Jewish Childhood."
Her research and interviewing techniques married with her stage work inspired her to write her own stage plays. This new phase in her career started in the mid eighties with "Far Above Rubies," which explored the effects of Judaism and Islam on women’s lives. It premiered at the Drill Hall. By the l990s she was embarking on new texts and productions which were later to culminate in "The Holocaust Trilogy."
"Theresa" explored the collaboration of the Channel Island governments with the Nazis during World War Two. This play was banned in Guernsey. It toured the UK, France and Germany. Pascal adapted it for the radio in l996 after it won an Alfred Bradley Prize. Adapted from the stage for the radio, As The Road to Paradise it was broadcast in 1996 and 1997 and was nominated for the Sony Prize.
Her stage productions "Theresa," "The Dybbuk" (inspired by S. Anski’s original), and "A Dead Woman on Holiday" were produced in London and on the European mainland over two decades. Moving from Europe to the US, "The Yiddish Queen Lear" followed after she studied the importance of Yiddish theatre and film on mainstream US culture. This opened at Southwark Playhouse and starred the Warsaw Ghetto survivor Ruth Posner; a main player in her ensemble.
The Tricycle Theatre commissioned her first play about Israel, "Crossing Jerusalem," which was staged there in 2003 and later produced in Thomas Huber’s German translation in 2003 in Karlsruhe’s Staatsteater and nominated for the 2007 Theatertreffen. In Paris it had a public rehearsed reading in a French translation by Alain Franck at the Théatre du Rond Point.
In 2008 Pascal returned to the classics. This time with an exploration of T"he Merchant of Venice" premiered at The Arcola Theatre and published as "The Shylock Play." This take was to stage the play, with all its difficulties, as witnessed by a Holocaust survivor, performed by Ruth Posner.
As well producing a body of original texts which have formed a bedrock of Jewish cultural experience on the English stage, Pascal has adapted Charlotte Bronte’s novel "Villette" which was produced at the British Library in 2000 as "Charlotte Bronte Goes To Europe." This was a development of her interest in Bronte whose "Jane Eyre" she dramatised for BBC Television as "Charlotte & Jane." The production won BAFTA and Royal Television Society Prizes.
In 2006 she won a prestigious NESTA Dreamtime Fellowship which took her to ex-Yugoslavia, Lithuania and Latvia for research. In 2007 she was Writer in Residence at the Wiener Library supported by a Leverhulme Grant. She has also had grants from The Arts Council, the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship, the Goethe Institute and the Oppenheimer John-Dowes funds.
Educational work has included being Writer in Residence at the University of York in 2003 and currently she teaches writing at New York University and St Lawrence Universities’ London campuses.
For Pascal Theatre Company she produced a collection of 50 film interviews funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund called "Mothers & Daughters – A Jewish Film Archive." This is regularly screened to activate debate. It is housed in the Imperial War Museum, the British Library, London Metropolitan Archives, The Jewish Museum, London Jewish Cultural Centre and The Victoria and Albert Museum/Theatre Museum collections.
In 2009 two of her latest plays Broken English and Woman On The Bridge had rehearsed readings at the Drill Hall and will be produced in 2010/2011.