Theater and Theology, under the creative direction of Yael Valier with design and direction consulting by John Krug, presents English-speaking theater that makes you think. Together with her team, Yael combines her experience in theater and her interest in the beauties and quirks of religion to bring Jerusalem audiences meaningful entertainment both during performances and in post-performance discussion with a wide range of scholars, affording audiences a host of views and opinions from secular atheism to devout traditionalism. We are proud to have held discussions with the following scholars: R. Nechama Goldman Barash, Dr. Erica Brown, R. Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, R. Chuck Davidson, Dr. Hannah Davidson, Playwright Roy Doliner, Dr. Netanel Fisher, Ittay Flescher, R. Prof David Golinkin, R. Anne Gordon, R. Herzl Hefter, Lic. Theol Brother Martin Kleespies, R. Dr. John Krug, R. Aharon Leibowitz, R. Seth Mandell, Author Sherri Mandell, Playwright Miriam Metzinger, Father David Mark Neuhaus, R. Rivkah Rappaport, R. Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld, R. Jeffrey Saks, Dr. Faydra Shapiro, Dr. Elana Sztokman, R. Shani Taragin, Dr. Debbie Weissman, R. Yosef Wolicki.
Part of Theater and Theology's mission is to bring the work of Israeli playwrights to light.
The Blessing of a Broken Heart by Todd Salovey, Khan Theater, Jerusalem
Yael has been involved in the Israeli English-speaking acting scene for eighteen years as a writer, actor, voice actor, and director. She is a graduate of Matan's Ayanot program and of the Ruti Tamir Physical Theater Workshop. Yael has taught theater at Midreshet Emuna v'Omanut, and drama at Midreshet Darkaynu and at Yachad to adults with special needs. She was a member of the David Cardozo Academy think tank, run by Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, for thirteen years. Yael runs and teaches Bibliodrama workshops for Jewish and non-Jewish groups and has taught the Bibliodrama technique in various settings. Yael also occasionally guest-directs for other theater companies, most recently Rhinoceros' Productions' production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2023). Check out Yael's animation voice reel here. She works in dubbing and narration for several production companies, and you can hear her voice (though you may not recognize it) in seven current Disney Junior and Fox Network BabyTV series, with another one currently in production. Yael also lectures and runs interactive workshops on theater, and on the mix of theater and theology. You can read her paper on the challenges of mixing theater with theology, published in the theological journal Perichoresis, here.
Consulting Director, Production Designer
Rabbi Dr. John Krug was the Assistant Producer of the world’s longest running musical, The Fantasticks, from 1974 until its closing in January 2002. He served, for ten additional years, as the Production Consultant/Assistant Director for The Fantasticks' revival, until its closing in June 2017. In addition to more than 250 production credits in the past 49 years, as Director, Production Consultant, Set Designer or Lighting Designer, he has directed an award-winning show for NBC and consulted for multiple Broadway productions and national touring companies. In addition to his semicha, he holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and speech/drama, Masters degrees in psychology and Jewish education, a doctorate in clinical psychology, a post-doctorate fellowship degree from Bar Ilan University, and is licensed and in private practice as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Krug wrote his post-doctoral thesis on “The Use Of Drama And Theatrical Technique in Informal Jewish Education,” an often cited work.
Teaching at Limmud Conference, UK.
Yael and her team teaching Bibliodrama and Playback Theater as text analysis methodologies to Catholic seminarians at the Studium Theologicum Salesianum in Jerusalem. With thanks to Peter Pitzele, founder of the Bibliodrama technique, and his wife Susan, for their patient one-on-one guidance on running and teaching Bibliodrama to very large groups. To learn more about Bibliodrama and the Pitzeles' work, click here.
JERUSALEM ENGLISH THEATER
Theater and Theology is a proud member of the Jerusalem English Theater community. Jerusalem offers a vibrant and varied array of theater companies and productions. For information about companies, upcoming productions, auditions, and more, visit the JET website.
A peek at rehearsals and performances of Divine Right by Roy Doliner, Off the Derech Dolorosa by Tom Dudzick, The Outcast by S.Y. Agnon and adapted by Yael Valier, and In a Stranger's Grave by Miriam Metzinger.