Into The Melting Pot: at Otley Courthouse on 25 May

It was Spain. 1492. But it couldn’t happen here, or now – could it?

Imaginative company The Telling perform Into the Melting Pot at Otley Courthouse on 25 May, a play about Jewish, Christian and Muslim women in Spain in 1492 by award-winning Clare Norburn & BAFTA-nominated director Nicholas Renton with lively medieval & Jewish music

The half concert/half play where music and theatre collide tells the story of a Jewish woman caught up in conflict and channels the stories of women of other faiths. It began touring England from 2 – 6 February and will now continue from 22 – 26 May, stopping at Otley Courthouse on Saturday 25 May at 7.30pm – 9.15pm.

Clare Norburn, who is The Telling’s Artistic Director and soprano, received critical praise from The Guardian’s Tim Ashley in 2020, for In The Melting Pot, her tale about the extraordinary medieval Abbess Hildegard of Bingen: “Mesmerising… An austerely beautiful piece about a woman whose faith gave her extraordinary strength and courage”

Clare : “Into the Melting Pot may be set in the past, but it’s extraordinarily relevant to contemporary issues right now. Somehow by looking through the camera of the past, I hope we might be able to see the present more clearly. The story of a Jewish woman forced to leave her home in 1492 is startlingly contemporary; it is has echoes in issues people face right now: the rise of Anti-Semitism, how members of the Windrush generation have been treated and refugees fleeing Ukraine, Afghanistan and Gaza. My character Blanca cries: “This is our home! My family, my roots in Seville go back hundreds of years. Just where do they think they are sending us back to….?””

Into the Melting Pot follows Blanca (played by Suzanne Ahmet, main image), a Jewish woman facing expulsion from Spain and setting sail for an uncertain future as ordered by the Spanish Catholic Monarchs in 1492. At twilight on her final night in Seville, Blanca tunes into the voices of a community of Jewish, Christian and Muslim women from across the Spanish peninsula. Her story echoes down the ages to the personal stories of people of all faiths affected by politics and war today. Down the centuries, women’s stories of integration, love, the rich cultural heritage of the Spanish peninsula and racial intolerance are played out to a soundtrack of plaintive Sephardic Jewish songs and lively medieval music, with full staging and stunning lighting.

The Telling are taking the concert play across England in May 2024. Tickets for the Otley performance cost £19 and are available to book online via Otley Courthouse.

Saturday 25 May, 7.30pm – 9.15pm Otley Courthouse, Courthouse Street, Otley LS21 3AN

This performance of Into the Melting Pot is supported by Arts Council England, Unity Theatre and The Shoresh Charitable Trust.


Love in the Lockdown – The Telling

★★★★ “charming…already a little hooked” Daily Mail

Breaking the Rules – Clare Norburn

★★★★ “vivid and daring one man psychodrama” The Guardian

Blanca Suzanne Ahmet (subject to availability)

The Telling:
Voice Clare Norburn
Voice Avital Raz
Recorders Emily Baines
Oud Giles Lewin
Harp Emilia Agajew

Writer Clare Norburn
Director Nicholas Renton
Music arranged & performed by The Telling
Producer Clare Norburn
General Manager Stephanie Williams

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