UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies


A Season of Yiddish Theatre: Miryeml by Tea Arciszewska

06 March 2024, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm

a painting depicting the contents of Miryemi

Heralded as a powerful memorial to the million children murdered in the Holocaust, this nearly-forgotten masterpiece will be performed in English translation for the first time.

Event Information

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+44 (0)20 7433 8988

UCL, the Yiddish Café Trust and JW3 are thrilled to present a season of Yiddish theatre at JW3. The diverse performances include an evening devoted to the London Yiddish stage, a staged reading of a classic play, a Yiddish theatre workshop and the premiere of a modernist masterpiece (translated into English by Sonia Gollance).

Series funded in part by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation.

Please note that no knowledge of Yiddish is required, since either the Yiddish will be accompanied by English translations, or English translations will be used in the performances.

Miryeml was heralded as a powerful memorial to the million children murdered in the Holocaust. This nearly-forgotten modernist masterpiece is available in English translation for the first time.

Tea Arciszewska was a dazzling figure in the prewar Warsaw Yiddish culture scene – an actress, dramaturge, salon hostess, and muse to the renowned Yiddish writer I. L. Peretz.  

In the 1920s, she began writing a play about the experiences of children during the pogroms that followed World War I. She worked on it for decades, first publishing Miryeml in 1958.

Yiddish critics praised the play, seeing it as a powerful response to the Holocaust. They recognized the character Miryeml as an extraordinary figure in Yiddish drama. Miryeml received an Alexander Shapiro Prize from the Congress for Jewish Culture for best Yiddish drama.

Miryeml is a modernist work that deftly integrates twentieth-century history and Jewish folklore into a narrative about children’s response to trauma, challenging our expectations of Yiddish theatre.

As far as we know, the play has never been performed; hence, this will be the world-premiere! Directed by Leo Doulton, this staged reading will be performed in Sonia Gollance’s new English translation.

The translation of this play was supported by a Translation Fellowship from the Yiddish Book Center.