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  • Multi-disciplinary productions from France, Brazil, South Africa, Switzerland, and Poland, bringing together Dance, Music, Theater, Performance Art, Video Art, and Installation;
  • International debuts from original Israeli productions
  • Modern adaptations to many classics alongside innovative creations from contemporary artists
  • Site-specific performances in many different Jerusalem locations
  • A grand opening musical production from the creators of the Israel festival, directed by Gilad Kahana
  • Child-friendly shows for the whole family

Israel Festival Director Eyal Sher:

“In the arts, we are witnessing a constant attempt to narrow the freedom of artistic expression, but that’s something we do not take into consideration in our programming.  We perceive cultural and creative achievement as a unique means to create space for dialogue and cultural encounter. We are proud to continue a consistent line of artistic programming that conforms to just one criterion: excellence.”



 Now in its 58th year, the Israel Festival, an internationally-renowned, multi-disciplinary festival, will take place in Jerusalem from May 30 – June 15, 2019, showcasing a rich and varied artistic program from Israel and around the world in the fields of dance, music, theater, performance art, video art, and installation. Among the innovative and contemporary festival programming are original Israeli productions created especially for the festival by independent artists and groups; highly-acclaimed guest productions from France, Brazil, South Africa, Switzerland, and Poland; site-specific performances in several Jerusalem locations; free outdoor performances and shows suitable for the family. Over 30,000 visitors, Israelis and tourists alike, enjoy the Israel Festival each year, the country’s flagship cultural event that is renowned for inspiring and thought-provoking material that cannot be seen at any other venue or festival.

The festival's layered program is focused on an inter-cultural search for identity from both familiar and new perspectives. It aims to express many different cultural identities, while constantly testing the limits of artistic creation, exposing identity politics, questioning conventions of separation between "artist" and "viewer", between the "self" and the "other"- while spotlighting the fluidity that exists between these definitions and an inspiring, unique artistic space.

The festival continues its’ tradition of integrating the old with the new. Alongside contemporary content, often characterized by multi-disciplinary forms, the festival will feature a number of performances inspired by classic masterpieces of the world, in a range of exciting and surprising adaptations by contemporary artists from Israel

and abroad. As well as featuring guest performances from South Africa, Switzerland, France, Brazil and Poland, a portion of the program will be dedicated to the original productions of Israeli art institutions such as the Itim ensemble, the Revolution Orchestra, virtuoso groups such as the Multipiano and Tremolo percussion ensembles, Clipa Theater, Zik Theater, DAVAI Theater, the new Elad Theater and many others. In addition, this year's festival will feature a rich program of both Israeli and foreign performances offering fun for the whole family.

Alongside venue performances, the festival challenges artists from Israel and the world with site-specific events in Jerusalem's unique sites. These include the Islamic Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, the Tower of David and all over the downtown area, as well as the Eden-Tamir Music Center in Ein Kerem. Some performances invite audiences to take an active part, thus becoming an inseparable part of the artistic happening.



Some of the 2019 Israel Festival highlights include:

  • OPENING PERFORMANCE - "Beats Per Second" - The 2019 Israel Festival kicks off with a special open-air concert at the Jerusalem Theater plaza, featuring a sizzling lineup of leading musicians and producers in the Israeli beat scene under the artistic direction of Gilad Kahana. Opening with Atar Mayner who will take over the DJ table with materials from his much-hyped recent debut album, with guests like Dor 3, RASTA HAI, Damsel is Depressed, and Eden Dersso performing music from the album as well as their own materials. DIGITAL MONX – the intriguing new group of Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box), Itamar Ziegler, Ron Bunker, and Tom Darom follows – featuring Tomer Yosef, Gili Yalo, Eden Dersso, FineBoy, A-WA and Gilad Kahana himself for a wild concert-party of rap, hip hop, Africa and tropical bass.  The evening will continue with an intimate After Party on the largest theatre stage with a live laboratory that will draw the audience into the heart of music making.  A musical fusion launched by Atar Mayner DJ set will continue with Ape Band (Tamir Muskat, Itamar Ziegler, and Tom Darom), and end with experimental tracks, electronic sets, spoken word, live jams, and rap of all the musicians together.  Please note! Tickets to the After Party are limited. May 30, Jerusalem Theater Plaza
  • Cullberg of Sweden presents two pieces– “Figure a Sea” is an exciting collaboration between Cullberg and two icons – choreographer Deborah Hay and multidisciplinary artist and composer Laurie Anderson. Inspired by the clubs of Berlin and using ease, accuracy, visibility, ambiguity, and uniformity as the key elements of her creation, Hay draws on the dancers’ intelligence, willingness, humor, and beauty. With transient and irreproducible intimacy, Cullberg dancers unfold an ocean of tenderness to the mysterious and exhilarating sounds created by Anderson. June 5, Jerusalem Theater.  In Protagonist one of the most intriguing choreographers working today, Jefta Van Dinther explores notions such as illusion, the visible and the invisible, darkness, voice and image. In Protagonist, his second collaboration with Cullberg Ballet, he gathers the dancers for a tribal techno dance that looks at the human need for both belonging and individuality.  Van Dinther creates a space where a group of strangers are intensely present in the now, together. On a dim stage, the 14 dancers form groups that paradoxically only exacerbate the sense of loneliness. Accompanied by a tenuous, cold soundtrack created by Swedish singer-songwriter Elias, Protagonist conveys the melancholy and intensity of the party, while conjuring contemplation on affection, intimacy, and connection as well as isolation, control, and alienation. June 6, Jerusalem Theater. This production contains nudity.
  • And so you see”: A look at post-apartheid South Africa with Laurence Oliver Award-winning veteran choreographer Robyn Orlin On the momentous occasion of South Africa’s 20th Freedom Anniversary in 2014,  renowned choreographer Robyn Orlin ponders if the people of South Africa are truly free and whether the promised democratic values, especially gender equality, meet the hopes laid down in the constitution.  The exceptional solo fuses a live video work with a mesmerizing performance by South African

performer-healer Albert Khoza. Khoza’s hybrid figure conjures questions of conflicting identities. June 6,7. Jerusalem Theater

  • South-African born, France-based performance artist Steven Cohen in his first visit to the Israel Festival, with a tribute to his late partner Elu, presents “Put your heart under your feet…and walk.” Self-described South African, white, gay, Jewish man, Cohen created a performative hybrid that brings together all these identities. Like a fragile, butterfly, he stands alone amid an installation of hundreds of ballet shoes – including ones that belonged to his partner the dancer Elu, dozens of candlesticks, and a skirt made of record players. Behind him, a screen displays scenes that insist on finding the aesthetic in the visceral in the face of the unimaginable finality of death.  In a chilling requiem to his partner of twenty years, Cohen performs a brave parting ceremony that celebrates art both as a path of coping with loss and as a resolute choice in a vital and passionate existence. June 6,7. Jerusalem Theater
  • Martin Zimmerman, from Switzerland, performsHallo.  For more than 20 years, Zimmerman has been bringing his rare chameleon-like quality to stages all over the world. In his latest solo Hallo, he creates a dreamlike, absurd theatre of objects and body with a childlike curiosity and humor. In an enigmatic space where objects have a life of their own, the line between reality and fiction blurs. June 14-15, Jerusalem Theater
  • Philippe Quesne from France ("La Mélancolie des Dragons") returns to the Israel Festival with"Night of the Moles" where he creates a subterranean world – home to a family of giant moles who start a rock band. With his distinct style, Quesne’s extraordinary audio-visual language transforms the theatre into a giant cave, evoking mythological and allegorical imagery. In this cave that represents all caves, from a prehistoric dwelling through Plato’s cave to a nuclear bunker, the moles live their magical and mischievous, yet melancholic and lonely life.  His performance is presented in two different versions - one for mature audiences (13 June), and another (15 June) suitable for the whole family. Jerusalem Theater
  • Brazilian choreographer Marcelo Evelin and five performers, whose naked bodies are painted black from head to toe, present a creation entitled “Suddenly everywhere is black with people” inspired by "Crowds and Power" from Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti. Moving as a single human body, they compel the viewers to constantly reposition themselves. In a fascinating reversal, a choreography of dancers becomes a choreography of a crowd. June 13,14. Jerusalem Theater
  • Songs of Lear" performed by the Song of Goat Theater from Poland-based on the classic play King Lear, Songs of Lear mixes a movement, sound, singing, music, and text to create a powerful distillation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. Standing in a choral circle on an empty stage, the Songs of The Goat ensemble disassembles the narrative and interweaves its fragments into a polyphonic vocal performance. The outcome is a profoundly moving musical ritual that unravels surprising underlying rhythms and mysterious energies in the Shakespearian play. June 13,14. Jerusalem Theater
  • Viewfield” from the Clipa Theater Israel. Returning to the Israel Festival for the eighth time, Clipa Theater continues to push the boundaries of theatre with a performance that explores the social and political arenas of the artistic action and audience-performer relationship.  From the vantage point of a high balcony, the audience is invited to gaze down at the street along the seam between Jaffa Road and the Old City walls, as Clipa Theater members blend into the urban landscape and the everyday activity in the city at twilight. The unique perspective as an audience and the expectation for something to happen will imbue and alter each audience’s perception of the events. Safra Square, June 4,5,11,12
  • A one-night only show marking the 400th anniversary of the birth of the most celebrated Yemenite poet, Rabbi Shalom Shabazi. Israel’s most beloved leading musicians Ester Rada, Berry Sakharof, Liron Amram, Miri Mesika, Sagiv Cohen, Idan Amedi, Zion Golan, Shai Tsabari, and S H I R A N will perform familiar songs and new adaptations of Shabazi poems created especially for the show. June 11 Tower of David Museum.
  • "Romeo and Juliet - The Last Supper" - this site-specific adaptation of Shakespeare's classic created by the Elad Theater invites the audience to take part in the celebration - eat, drink, dance to live music and

experience up close the impossible drama of Romeo and Juliet, one of the greatest love stories in western culture. Courtyard of Museum of Natural History, Jerusalem. June 10,11,12

  • "King Matt" , the first ever stage adaptation for adults of Janusz Korczak’s iconic children’s book King Mat the First, featuring Zvi Sahar and the Itim Ensemble. June 7, Jerusalem Theater
  • "The Planets, A Journey Through the Stars" - a special production commemorating 100 years since the debut of Gustav Holst's "The Planets" , performed by the Tremolo and Multipiano ensembles. World renowned MultiPiano Ensemble and Tremolo Percussion Ensemble collaborate in an intergalactic evening with a new rendition of Gustav Holst’s seminal piece.  Holst’s The Planets unfolds a sound portrait of all the planets in the solar system. Completed in 1918, the iconic piece revolutionized writing for orchestras and has since inspired countless Hollywood soundtracks, including Star Wars. On the centennial of its premiere, seven prominent Israel composers – Joseph Bardanashvili, Ziv Cojocaru, Avner Dorman, Avner Hanani, Udi Perlman, Israel Sharon, and Tomer Yariv – revisit the piece with new orchestrations. With two grand pianos and a dizzying array of percussion instruments, MultiPiano Ensemble and Tremolo Percussion Ensemble will take us on an interstellar journey through an extraordinary world of sounds that shifts between past and present, presenting Holst’s timeless piece through the eyes of contemporary composers. The concert will also include Ravel’s Spanish Rhapsody and Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bare Mountain. June 2, Jerusalem Theater
  • In Re: Play, the Revolution Orchestra embarks on a journey of music and video art in the footsteps of iconic musicians from all genres and eras. Four of the orchestra’s composers revisit the musical legends who inspired their work, bringing them together on one stage with original music and video works that will be screened among the musicians. For one night, Jacqueline du Pré and Jimi Hendrix, Astor Piazzolla and Édith Piaf, Marvin Gaye and Yehudi Menuhin, John Lennon and Glenn Gold, Luciano Pavarotti and Freddie Mercury will all come to life in an exceptional musical-visual multisensory experience. June 15, Jerusalem Theater      
  • The Great Gehenna Choir perform "Tikun Chatsot" - a vocal journey in the steps of David Avidan's mystical poetry. Monday, June 3-4, Jerusalem Theater
  • Happy Metal” In this exhilarating roadshow, DAVAI group plays musicians in a Swedish heavy metal band who stumble onto the wrong stage and have to adapt their wild show to an audience of children. The show must go on! Grim idols of Nordic metal accept the challenge and save the show, using wild imagination and unexpected talents to create a hilarious rock concert for children and their parents. With the magical and witty language of clowning, the performers ask the children in the audience about their world, communicate with them at eye level, and show little and big viewers how we can communicate in a rich language of images, objects, music and dance. June 5-6, Jerusalem Theater
  • Jewelry Making- Ophaned Land – Mira Awad. The Israel Festival continues its collaboration with the Museum for Islamic Art in a special night of cross-cultural meeting through art and music. On the occasion of the new exhibition showcasing the wealth of jewelry in the three religions, the museum will open its doors to the public and host a concert of world-renowned Israeli rock band Orphaned Land featuring singer-songwriter Mira Awad. The concert will fuse together different styles – rock and metal,

middle eastern folk music, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian elements, and verses from the Bible, the New Testament, and the Quran. June 12, Museum of Islamic Art

  • Festivan– The Incubator Theater. Throughout the Festival, a mobile stage truck will surprise people on the streets of Jerusalem with popup music shows – from hip hop and spoken word to Mexican rock and Azerbaijani soul music.


 Over the past four years, Israel Festival Director Eyal Sher and Artistic Director Itzik Giuli have led the Israel Festival on a path of artistic innovation. The festival, under their management, has set a clear goal - to identify on the global culture and art scene new artistic movements, forms and languages, as well as innovative and original interpretations, while conserving the festival's historical value and its’ achievements for over 50 years. Recent years have seen a rise in the number of young audience members, as a result of both the artistic program and the affordable pricing policy.

Dan Halperin, Chairman, Israel Festival:

" In association with many cultural institutions, among them, the Institut Français, the Polish Institute, and the Brazilian Embassy, the festival continues to take its place as a central stage for international art and creativity, as well as a bridge for artistic collaboration between Israeli and international artists."

Eyal Sher, Director, Israel Festival: "We are very excited to present the 58th Israel Festival program, and invite you to enjoy the finest contemporary stage and performance arts in the country and from around the world. Unique, out-of-the-box performances that will bring new light to our world and open doors to new ones; art that will question, disrupt, upset, entertain, excite and inspire. In the arts, we are witnessing a constant attempt to narrow the freedom of artistic expression, but that’s something that we do not take into consideration in our programming.  We perceive cultural and creative achievement as a unique means to create space for dialogue and cultural encounter. We are proud to continue a consistent line of artistic programming that conforms to just one criterion: excellence. A festival is an adventure. Come see two, three, four or more performances - now are the time to break away from routine!"


Itzik Giuli, Artistic Director, Israel Festival: "This year's program reflects the artists’ growing interest in questions related to identity. The contemporary creations of the 2019 Israel Festival tell us a story about our connection, as a community, to the historical narratives that create our identity as a society, as well as the reasons and actions taken for the creation of one's personal and social identity. Artists deal with these issues, each in their own special way and form, and the performances reflect the natural evolution of art that moves with time, takes on new shapes, blurs the disciplinary borders, and completely changes the relationship between performer and audience. The result: an astonishing artistic expression of contemporary, bold, brave and exciting creation."

This year, the Israel Festival is launching a Friends Giving Circle to help support its growth and ongoing activity. The Friends Giving Circle facilitates the gift of high-quality art and performance to a wide range of audiences by subsidizing tickets and funding free events in public spaces. In addition, the Friends Giving Circle of the Israel Festival will support the creation of original productions in Israel, international collaboration and a large number of special projects. Friends of the Giving Circle become partners in its artistic achievements, based on values of dialogue, tolerance, and understanding, and aimed at strengthening Jerusalem's multi-cultural character as well as enriching the cultural landscape throughout the country. More details about the initiative can be found on the festival's website.

The Israel festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Jerusalem, Mifal HaPais lottery, the Jerusalem Foundation, as well as many public and private foundations. The festival is held in association with the Polish Institute, Institut Français, the Brazilian Embassy, the Organization for Preservation of Jewish-Yemenite Culture, Yad Ben Zvi, and more.

Pricing and Special Offers:

All tickets range between NIS 60 - 180

Senior citizens, students, and active duty soldiers are all eligible for a 20% discount.

Special bundle tickets are available when purchasing at least 2 tickets to double feature events during the evening performances on June 6 and 13, and during matinees on June 7 and 14.

Detailed information can be found on the festival website.


The Israel Festival is offering shuttle services on the opening night May 30 as well Thursdays June 6 and 13  from Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beer Sheva, facilitating the attendance of 2 or more shows in a row. Details regarding timetables and routes can be found on the Festival's website.


For tickets and more information: https://www.israel-festival.org/en/




The photo with the pianos should read
"The Planets.credit Inbal Marmary"
The photo of the dancers should read
"Figure a Sea credit Urban Joren"
The photo of Jerusalem should read
"Clips Theater. Credit Matan Shakira"