Reopened in July last year, after a two year redevelopment project, the 1874 Grade II* listed Spanish and Portuguese synagogue is truly one of Manchester’s most breathtakingly beautiful performance spaces. It has already held host to the inaugural season of Synagogue Nights, which launched in autumn 2021 and the spring season in March 2022.
This autumn, Synagogue Nights is back with a packed programme inspired by the theme of ‘identity’, which runs throughout the museum’s collection of over 30,000 unique objects.
The autumn programme of events kicks off with a rescheduled performance by the Noga Ritter Trio on Thursday 20 October. The Israel born singer-songwriter and her trio bring their genre-blending music to Manchester for the first time. Combining Hebrew Jazz with global influences, Noga seeks to bring Hebrew back to its nomadic context. She mixes jazz techniques with influences from growing up in Israel and working in West-Africa. Her shows are electric and unique, full of improvisation and interaction between her and her audience.
From there, continuing with the theme of Jewish identities, the museum will play host to a one-woman comedy show, ‘Going Deutsch’, on Sunday 6 November. Following a bereavement, Brexit and a bad break up, Anna decides to make some changes. She tries to get back with Germany, the country offering her citizenship despite taking the lives (and passports) of so many who came before her. Can they get past their history? Could they ever make it work? Produced by Discerning Nights, with direction by Liz Guterbock, movement direction by Suzannah Hall, an outside eye work by Jessie Brookes and performed by the talented Anna Clover, ‘Going Deutsch’ talks about relationships, inherited trauma and how much the past shapes the future.
Later in November, the museum will welcome Emma Smith, who is recognised as one of the most exciting voices in the contemporary Jazz scene. She will bring her mesmerising music to the historic synagogue on Sunday 27 November. Emma has performed all over the world, from the 02 Arena to the leading jazz clubs of New York City, collaborating and sharing the stage with world-renowned performers like Michael Buble, Robbie Williams, Georgie Fame and Seal.
Her recent album, Meshuga Baby, is a nod to her Jewish heritage. The Yiddish word ‘Meshuge’ means ‘crazy’ – a judgment that Smith describes as “so often passed on brave ambitious women that are not afraid express their opinions and showcase their talent.”
On Thursday 1 December the mood will shift back to comedy with the hilarious production ‘Pickle’. The main character, Ari, is still living at her family home in North-West London and has her life dominated by overbearing parents, religious traditions, and high expectations. Then there’s her day-to-day life too. The job, the pub and the love life. Written and performed by Deli Segal and produced by Tanya Truman, Pickle is a darkly comic one-woman show about reconciling belief and tradition with change. It explores the complex, yet all-too-familiar experience of trying to find balance between two conflicting worlds.
Finally, on Thursday 8 December, the synagogue will be filled with the classical tunes of The University of Manchester’s internationally-acclaimed string quartet-in-residence, Quatuor Danel. Founded in 1991, the quartet has been at the forefront of the international music scene ever since, with important concert performances worldwide and a row of groundbreaking CD recordings. They will present their lively repertoire of Felix Mendelssohn and Mieczysław Weinberg with quartets written in memory of lost sisters.
Identity is one of the three main themes in Manchester Jewish Museum’s collection. Together with two other themes, Journeys and Communities, it frames the diverse stories and experiences of Jewish Mancunians and creates a narrative of the museum’s gallery. The themes are a reflection of the museum’s mission to explore differences and similarities, and to celebrate that which makes people unique and that which connects us all. With each event, performance and workshop programmed, the museum strives to spark reaction and change and to make real the knowledge that there is more that binds people together than what separates them.
The tickets to all events will go on sale on to the general public from tomorrow, however, Manchester Jewish Museum members can purchase them now. For more information visit the link below.