Longing Belonging and Balfour: A musical theatre telling of the 1917 Balfour Declaration story
‘Chai For All’ will compose an hour-long musical theatre in April with a mishmosh of Jazz Klezmer, Arabic and Ottoman music, Salvation Army tunes, Story and Yiddish song. It will draw from the Russian scientist and Zionist Chaim Weizmann’s account of how he won the heart of Arthur Balfour, misty-eyed imperialist, to extract a promise for a homeland for The Jews in British-held Palestine in 1917. Other stories will tell of Walter Williams, a Somerset soldier who admired the dashing General Allenby, conqueror of Jerusalem. What of the people already rooted there, the Palestinian Arabs? Not consulted, their fate would unfold more fully in the catastrophe of 1948. Their story will be told too.
Why are we doing this? Any answer will be shot down in flames by someone but here goes: The Israel Palestine conflict has raged for a 100 years. Political solutions alone have not worked but creative approaches may help tackle hardened hearts and polarized views at least here in the UK. The conflict worsens causing suffering all round, the fear and insecurity of Israelis as well as the oppresion of Palestinians.
Telling a 3-way story, Zionist, Palestinian and British, with great music, and inviting our audiences -we are keen to invite Jewish, Christian, pro-Palestinian audiences and will work closely with hosts to ensure a welcome for all- to consider all the narratives we hope will not only be entertaining but help to build empathy for the ‘other side’ and understanding of what any of it has to do with Brits. It’s worth a shot don’t you think?
For more information on this project, please visit the Longing Belonging and Balfour crowd funding page.