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Circus Jews Under National Socialism: A Lecture/Performance


The true stories of Jewish circus artists between the world wars are told with sensitivity and humor by Stav Meishar, a circus artist and academic.

The lecture is based on over seven years of extensive research and combines photos from personal albums, recorded testimonies, and personal stories. Additionally, Meishar will present excerpts from her show "The Escape Act", a show based on one of the stories she uncovered–that of a Jewish acrobat who survived the Holocaust hiding in a German circus.

This event will explore the lives of Jewish circus artists in Germany from 1880-1945 and the process of transforming historical research into performance. Join us for a glimpse into a little-known colorful and fascinating world!

Stav Meishar is a theatre maker, multidisciplinary performer, academic researcher and educator, working across circus, theatre and contemporary performance. Born and raised in Israel and now based out of both Bristol UK and New York City, Stav has spent the past two decades performing on professional theater and circus stages; on the ground and in the air; in Hebrew, English and Yiddish; in works devised by herself and by others; all over Israel, America and Europe.

Stav is committed to pursuing the gestalt of circus, history, education, and social change. Her most recent project, The Escape Act: A Holocaust Memoir, is a one-woman show mixing puppetry, theatre and circus steeped in seven years of historical research. It is based on the true story of a Jewish acrobat who survived the Holocaust hiding at a German circus and examines questions of antisemitism and multigenerational-trauma. When Stav isn't performing she directs Dreamcoat Experience, the award-winning organization she founded, which uses Performing Arts as tools for teaching progressive Judaism. She also founded Petite Mort Productions, a performance company committed to developing original multidisciplinary works. A proud queer Jew, she answers to both she/her and they/them.