About Kol Isha

Kol Isha is a group of diverse Jewish women committed to using theatre as a means to present issues confronting Jewish women and exploring barriers to Jewish unity. Weekly discussions and theatrical training are used to determine production projects. The ensemble is committed to hearing and respecting each other’s voices, and building bridges of tolerance and understanding within the Jewish community.

History

Founded in 1995 by Barb Feige and Amy Guterson, Pittsburgh community members with extensive theatre backgrounds, Kol Isha brings together women of varying backgrounds and views. Ensemble members range in age from 20s to 60s and bring to the group various lifestyles and perspectives on Judaism. The group strives to represent the full spectrum of the Jewish community. Together, through improvisation and soul-searching, they explore their own personal experiences as Jewish women, breakdown stereotypes, and foster relationships with each other and the greater community.

The ensemble’s first production, an original play, titled An Invisible Thread, based on each member’s personal story was performed in June 1996. In 1998, the play Journey Through Ruth, a parable based on the biblical story of Ruth, was written and performed. In 1999, two productions were developed and performed: The Choosing (an outreach project with City Theatre Company) and a Hanukah show for children titled Hanukah Lights (four vignettes written by three different ensemble members).

Spirits of Valor, in which five of the women from the Jewish Women’s Archives “Women of Valor” posters come to life, was produced in March 2001 in collaboration with an exhibit of the Jewish Women’s Archives poster series for Jewish Women’s History Month and the Pittsburgh Jewish Women’s Center. In November of 2002, Kol Isha presented “Rediscovering Our Jewish Stories: A Theatrical Workshop” at the Fourth International Conference of Feminism and Orthodoxy sponsored by the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. The workshop included the performance of their fifth original play, a one-act entitled Dancing With the Torah”.

The ensemble has conducted numerous tailored workshops for different organizations throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Kol Isha is currently staging its next play, Imagining Bubbe, February 21 thru March 11, 2007 at the Katz Theatre of the Jewish Community Center in Pittsburgh, PA. This new, multi-media original work draws on members’ stories and memories of their grandmothers.

For more information, or to be added to the Kol Isha mailing list and receive information about upcoming productions, contact us at info@kolisha.org or call 412-421-7786.