While on your gap year in Tel Aviv you may be looking for an interesting way to spend an evening or two and one way you can do this is by exploring Tel Aviv’s theatres. There are a number of theatres in Tel Aviv, putting on different kinds of shows, from Shakespeare to contemporary Israeli works, and don’t worry, not all of them are in Hebrew and some even have English subtitles, so you can work on your Hebrew at the same time!
The main theatre is called ‘Habima’, which literally means ‘the stage’. The theatre has taken plays to festivals around the world and is internationally recognised for its high quality productions. For instance, not so long ago they performed The Merchant of Venice at the famous Globe Theatre in London. At Habima you will find the full range of plays, including a number of new Israeli works that look at the country’s major issues. Best of all, it is not uncommon for the plays to have English subtitles.
Another very famous theatre in Tel Aviv is the Cameri Theatre. It is located close to the Azrieli Centre and the theatre has won the Israel Award for its contributions to Israeli society through its dramas that highlight important issues. A large number of Israeli plays are shown at the theatre but occasionally there are some classical play, musicals and so on. There are five auditoriums in the theatre and some of their play have English subtitles.
If you really want to test your language skills you can go to the Gesher Theatre in Jaffa. It is a relatively new theatre, having been established in 1991 by Russian immigrants. Gesher means bridge in Hebrew and the theatre aims to bridge the gap between Israeli and Russian culture and puts on a number of Russian plays. The productions themselves vary between Russian and Hebrew, but occasionally there are English subtitles.
Not far from the Gesher Theatre is the Jaffa Theatre. This is an Arab-Hebrew theatre and is a collaboration between two theatre companies with Jewish and Arab actors. They work both independently and on the joint productions. The plays put on tend to explore the diversity of Arab and Israeli culture and of course address some of the issues surrounding them. However, the plays are in Hebrew or Arabic, so you will need to work hard in Ulpan!
Another major theatre is Beit Lessen, which actually has three venues around Tel Aviv. They put on contemporary European and American plays, as well as original productions that explore Israeli culture. Each year the theatre company hosts the Open Stage Festival and it helps to give a stage ti works by new playwrights.
If you are looking for some avant-garde theatre then head to the Tmuna Theatre. There you will find many different types of productions including concerts, dance shows, literature and poetry readings, exhibitions and more.
Finally, there is the Tzavta Theatre, a small independent company based in the London Ministore shop. There you will find a range of productions in all languages, as well as comedy nights, and more.
In short, if you enjoy the theatre, then during your gap year in Tel Aviv there is plenty to explore.