Manchester Jewish Museum 5th-18th November 2018

The festival comes a few months before MJM will temporarily leave its historic synagogue and move into Central Library to allow for the construction of a new museum. To mark this occasion we are hosting an exciting programme of installations and live performances about ‘leaving’. There really is something for everyone so whether you are a regular visitor or new to the museum, we look forward to welcoming you at our festival events. 


Monday 5th November

Festival Launch Party. 7pm. FREE but ticketed. More Info and Tickets

Join us as we get the festival off to a flaming start. Listen and share stories around the bonfire, contribute to the building of our Mexican inspired ‘ofrenda’ and visit a museum of memory, filled with hidden treasures…inside a caravan. The ofrenda, created by artist Ellie Harrison will be on display throughout the festival for people to view and contribute to.

Wednesday 7th November

Ana Silvera: Oracles. 7.30pm. £10 (plus booking fee). More Info and Tickets

Poignant and dreamlike, and written during a period of profound grief, ‘Oracles’ was Ana’s way to transmute her emotions into a cathartic work of art. The result is a haunting yet life-affirming collection of songs whose lyrics explore loss, love, salvation and the journey towards acceptance. ‘Some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard…intelligent, lyrically complex and interesting…just absolutely wonderful’ – Alex Preston, BBC Radio 4. Ana will also be joined by Manchester’s Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir.

Wednesday 7th November 

Festival of Leaving Movement Workshop 1, 6pm (at The Irish World Heritage Centre). Free but ticketed. More info and Tickets

We all have a story/ journey of how we came to be here in Manchester. Join us for a free 2-hour workshop exploring memories of leaving one place and arriving at another, using words and movement to share journey’s and cultures. Everyone is welcome to come along and have a go, with choreographer Joanne Bernard.

Thursday 8th November

Double Bill: Bubble Schmeisis and Klezmer Concert. 7.30pm. £12 (plus booking fee).

 More Info and Tickets

Writer and street performer Nick Cassenbaum invites you into the warmth of East London’s last authentic bath house. Amongst the steam and ritual Nick will take you on a journey to find the place he belongs. Bubble Schmeisis is full of intimate and personal true stories about identity, home and getting schmeised (washed) by old men.

The performance will be followed by a 45-minute concert performed by klezmer musicians Daniel Gouly and Josh Middleton.

Sunday 11th November

 Traces of the First World War. 11am. FREE but ticketed. More Info and Tickets

Join us as we commemorate the centenary of armistice day and remember the six young men who worshipped in our synagogue building before tragically losing their lives in the first world war. Includes ‘There But Not There’ – a nationwide art installation for the fallen; Curator led workshops exploring stories and items related to the great war; ‘Sit with us for a Moment and Remember’ – an interactive performance for a single person at a time exploring remembrance, solitude and loss and a print making workshop with artist Charlotte Tupper. The day will start with a minute’s silence at 11am.

Monday 12th November

 Sefiroth: Adio Kerida. 7pm. £10 (plus booking fee). More Info and Tickets

Sefiroth is an international collective of musicians founded by brothers Nick and Alex Roth to explore and reimagine traditional Sephardic (Judeo-Spanish) repertoire with a contemporary aesthetic. Sung in Ladino, these ancient songs weave timeless stories of love, loss and yearning for home, evoking the lands in which the Sephardic diaspora settled: Iberia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Adio Kerida (“Farewell, Beloved”) is Sefiroth’s new show, premiering at Manchester Jewish Museum.  It is a continuous, hour-long musical performance enhanced by aspects of theatricality and story-telling.

Tuesday 13th November

 Daniel Cainer’s Jewish Chronicles: Home, Heart and Heritage. 7.30pm. £8 (plus booking fee). More Info and Tickets

Smart, funny, timely and only slightly irreverent, Cainer’s deeply moving tales about his family and observational comedy are a joy. Brilliant writing and wordplay, great musicianship and haunting tunes you won’t forget. His songs and his music are for anyone who’s ever wrestled with their home, their heritage and their heart…and is partial to bagels.

Wednesday 14th November

 Young Identity: Ode on the Road. 7.30pm. £5 (plus booking fee). More Info and Tickets

Join us for an evening of spoken word and poetry, including two brand new pieces created for the festival from Young Identity poets Billie Meredith and Ella Otomewo. These commissions are inspired by the theme of leaving within the Museum’s collections, connecting historical stories of leaving and loss to contemporary concerns.  This is an open-mic event, open to anyone who has a piece on the theme of leaving they would like to read.

Wednesday 14th November 

Festival of Leaving Movement Workshop 2, 6pm (at The Manchester Reform Synagogue). Free but ticketed. More info and Tickets

We all have a story/ journey of how we came to be here in Manchester. Join us for a free 2-hour workshop exploring memories of leaving one place and arriving at another, using words and movement to share journey’s and cultures. Everyone is welcome to come along and have a go, with choreographer Joanne Bernard.

Thursday 15th November

 bloominauschwitz. 7.30pm (followed by panel discussion). £12 (plus booking fee).

More Info and Tickets

bloominauschwitz imagines Leopold Bloom breaking free of James Joyce’s great novel ‘Ulysses’ to re-discover his Jewish roots.  bloominauschwitz is an explosive piece of theatre right from the start, though it confounds audience expectations in the process. Mixing clownish antics with high drama, rich text and powerful imagery, it features Patrick Morris in a tour-de-force role as Bloom and comes to the Festival of Leaving fresh from a 5-star reviewed run at Edinburgh Festival.

Sunday 18th November

 Robin Simpson: The Travellers’ Tales. 11am. £5 (plus booking fee). More Info and Tickets

Every journey has a beginning, a middle and an end, but what if the end becomes a new beginning? Combining stories from around the world with beautiful shadow puppetry, this immersive and exciting performance has been created especially for the Festival of Leaving and is ideal for families with children 5 yrs and up, though younger children are welcome. Robin Simpson is an actor and storyteller based in West Yorkshire. He has appeared in Coronation Street, Home Fires and Holby City and has recently finished performing at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York. His next appearance will be as Widow Twankey in Aladdin at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.

Sunday 18th November

The Great Jewish American Songbook: An Evening with Hope Mill Theatre 7.30pm. £10 (plus booking fee)

More Info and Tickets

 How is it that Jews wrote the musical background to American lives from the First World War to the sixties? In a land of opportunity, they created a musical world of escapism and romance.

Join performers and producers Katy Lipson and Joseph Houston as they take you through a collection of some of the songs written by some of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. They will also share with you their next major musical production – RAGS, the sequel to Fiddler on the Roof and written by one of those incredible composers Stephen Schwartz of Pippin and Wicked!

Monday November 5th to Sunday November 18th

Jo Scorah: Nomad. Free with Museum Entry. More Info

Jo Scorah is a practicing artist based in Salford, Manchester, and a member of ‘Suite Studio Group’. Her present work is focused on the humanized element of departure, displacement and conflict.  Her use of materials such as cloth, wire and found objects reflect a textile background, whilst providing a strong sense of emotional baggage and turmoil. Jo’s installation will also include work from a workshop with Year 10 Textiles students at Abraham Moss School.

Monday November 5th to Sunday November 18th

Ellie Harrison: Ofrenda. Free with Museum Entry. More Info

 To celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico, people build ‘Ofrendas’ to remember friends, family and people of significance. Ofrendas are brightly coloured displays including tables filled with photographs, flowers, candles, food and significant objects. They are a central part of celebrating those we have loved and lost, from close family to our heroes from music or sport.

Ofrendas are built in people’s homes, in schools, places of work, bars, restaurants and public squares.

This Ofrenda is a collaboration between artists in Mexico City at The Faro De Oriente and UK artist Ellie Harrison and The Grief Series.

Monday November 5th to Sunday November 18th

Nikky Norton Shafau’s Festival Plenary Poem and Audio Podcast. More Info

Manchester based poet, Nikky Norton Shafau will be absorbing the Festival of Leaving, soaking up the atmosphere of the beautiful building, overheard conversations of the community and taking inspiration from the themes of Leaving, legacy and loss to then share a poetic aggregation of the last stories that flowed through the museum. If you spot her – come over and have a chat!

Nikky will be performing her poem The Wall as part of our Festival Launch Party and will recite the plenary poem during our closing event The Great Jewish American Songbook. Look out also for Nikky’s audio podcast.

The Festival is supported by: