The city of Haifa has contributed much towards Israeli culture with its unique museums and interesting sites. However, the Haifa Municipal Theatre is arguably Haifa’s biggest contribution to Israeli, and probably international, arts. The Haifa Municipal Theater is one of Israel’s leading theaters.
Founded in 1961, the Haifa Municipal Theater was the brainchild of then-mayor Abba Hushi as an attempt to introduce more of the city’s residents to the arts. It was the first municipal theater in Israel, as well as the first to offer the possibility of membership. Nowadays it has a membership of 10,000 and a reputation for performing outstanding and thought-provoking plays, both Israeli plays, like the popular “1948” (based on Yoram Coniak’s bestseller) and foreign plays, such as Arthur Miller’s successful drama “All My Sons.” Don’t worry about your young children being bored—the theater produces a number of plays for children, with classics like “The Ugly Duckling.”
The theater troupe is housed in the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Theatre of Haifa’s Hadar Hacarmel neighborhood. The theater house has three stages and is known as one of the nicest theater houses in Israel. The troupe is a repertory theater and as such performs their work all over Israel. The theater has staged a wide variety of genres, from Shakespeare to new Israeli plays. The theater performs about eight to ten plays every year.
The theater also takes an active role in the Haifa community. Many of the plays produced by the Haifa Theater bring up subjects that relate directly to Israeli culture as a whole and Haifa culture in particular, such as unemployment, immigration, the Holocaust and living in a mixed community. As Haifa is a well-known mixed community, with Jews living amongst Muslims and Druze, the Theater reflects real life and hires many Palestinian actors.
While Haifa might not have New York City’s white lights or Broadway’s flair, the impeccable, original plays and performances put on by the Haifa Theater are definitely worth a night out on the town.