Sex, Lies and Regal Japes; The story of Esther, the sex-crazed king and his evil counsellor
David Aaronovitch , Debbie Chazen, Anita Diamant, Irving Finkel, Assaf Gavron, Fariborz Kiani, Kathy Lette, Lemez Lovas, Simon Schama, Udi Sharabani, Miki Shaw, David Schneider
A Purim Spiel, with a contemporary twist, bringing a little bit of Persia to Bloomsbury, with a backbeat of Iranian rhythms and all hosted by our favourite modern-day Sheherazade, David Schneider. Unmasking the Book of Esther we revealed the story behind the story of Purim, hatching all-new conspiracy theories and, in the spirit of the festival, blurring boundaries between good and evil, sacred and profane. Bringing the world of inversions, masks and hidden meanings to life was our all-star cast.
David Aaronovitch is a writer and broadcaster on culture, international affairs, politics and the media. A Times columnist, his books include Voodoo Histories. He runs. Or tries to.
Debbie Chazen is a comedian and actress. Her credits include Mike Leigh’sTopsy Turvy; the BBC sketch show Tittybangbang; Doctor Who;Coronation Street;and the stage version of Calendar Girls.Anita Diamant
Anita Diamant is a prizewinning journalist. She is the author of three bestselling novels, The Red Tent,Good Harbour and The Last Days of Dogtown. She has also written six books about contemporary jewish practice and a collection of essays, Pitching My Tent.Irving Finkel
Dr Irving Finkel is Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian (i.e. Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian) script, languages and cultures Department: Middle East at the British Museum, headquartered in London’s Bloomsbury. He is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection – some 130,000 pieces – of any modern museum. This work involves reading and translating all sorts of inscriptions, sometimes working on ancient archives to identify manuscripts that belong together, or even join to one another.
Assaf Gavron is an award-winning Israeli novelist, translator and musician, currently teaching at the University of Nebraska. He has written five novels, a collection of short stories and recently co-edited the anthology Tel Aviv Noir.Fariborz Kiani
Fariborz Kiani fled Iran in the late 70s. A deep passion for classical Persian music led to the setting up of Nava Art Group. He has also set up the Safar Ensemble, a group that uses medieval instruments to demonstrate the link between the musical traditions of the east and the west.Kathy Lette
Kathy Lette has written 12 best selling novels, including Puberty Blues, which was made into a major film and a TV mini-series, Mad Cows (the film starred Joanna Lumley), How to Kill Your Husband (recently staged by the Victorian Opera) and To Love, Honour and Betray (soon to be a BBC series). Her latest, The Boy Who Fell To Earth is a romantic comedy about a single mother bringing up a child with autism. Her novels have been published in 17 languages.Lemez Lovas
Lemez Lovas, a UK Jewish music pioneer, founded and wrote/arranged 3 albums for Oi Va Voi (triple BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards nominees); composes for film and theatre (currently Persian epic Shahnameh at London\'s National Theatre), and is English songwriter for international artists (Sony BMG / EMI). Current projects include the Yiddish Twist Orchestra - inspired by Willy Bergman, the tragically neglected East End rock\'n\'roll hero; Shtetl Superstars, a modern day ska-gypsy Fiddler On The Roof; and a major art installation celebrating the Rag Trade.Simon Schama
Sir Simon Schama, CBE is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and a Contributing Editor of the Financial Times. He is the author of nineteen books and the writer-presenter of fifty documentaries on art, history and literature for BBC2. His art criticism for The New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for criticism in 1996; his film on Bernini from The Power of Art won an Emmy in 2007 and his series on British history and The American Future: a History, Broadcast Critics Guild awards. He won the NCR non-fiction prize for Citizens, National Book Critics Circle award for Rough Crossings, the WH Smith Literary Award for Landscape and Memory. In 2015 he received the Premio Antonio Feltrinelli in historical sciences from the Accademia nazionale dei Lincei in Rome. His The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words was published in 2015 and the second volume Belonging in 2017. In the autumn of 2016, The Face of Britain, a history of British portraiture appeared as a five-part BBC television series; a book and an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. In 2018, Civilizations, a nine-part BBC television series on world art, of which he wrote and presented five. In May 2019, Wordy: Sounding off on high art, low appetite and the power of memory, was published, and in the spring of 2021 his BBC series The Romantic and Us was aired. At present, he is working on Foreing Bodies, his twentieth publication, and in a new BBC series titled Brave New World. Image cr. Charlie Bibby
Udi Sharabani is a journalist, script writer, artist and ex-footballer. He performs spoken word and poetry and is currently writing his debut novel, about a footballer.Miki Shaw
Miki Shaw is a visual artist, animator and graphic designer. She specialises in creating unique and eclectic visuals for live events, from clubs to children\'s theatre. Since 2007 she has been the JCC\'s resident \"imagician\" and regularly VJs as part of the Klezmer-House group GhettoPlotz.David Schneider
David Schneider researched a PhD in Yiddish drama at Oxford before becoming the hilarious writer of – and actor and comedian in – award-winning comedy shows and films such as I’m Alan Partridge and Mission Impossible.