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 & Muslim women in Spain in 1492 by award-winning Clare Norburn & BAFTA-nominated director Nicholas Renton with lively Spanish medieval music.

BAFTA-nominated Nicholas Renton directs Into the Melting Pot which stars leading actor of stage and screen Suzanne Ahmet (Marvellous (@sohoplace), Chester Storyhouse, BBC Doctors) and critically acclaimed music and theatre company The Telling. The half concert/half play where music and theatre collide tells the story of a Jewish woman caught up in the conflict of 1492 and channels the stories of women of other faiths. It began touring England from 2 – 6 February andwill now continue from 22 – 26 May, stopping at Otley Courthouse just outside Leeds on Saturday 25 May at 7.30pm – 9.15pm.

Into the Melting Pot is by award-winning writer and The Telling’s Artistic Director and soprano, Clare Norburn. Vision, Norburn’s concertplay about the extraordinary medieval Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, received critical praise from Tim Ashley of The Guardian in 2020:

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“mesmerising... An austerely beautiful piece about a woman whose faith gave her extraordinary strength and courage"

Performance of Into the Melting Pot in London, 2022Performance of Into the Melting Pot in London, 2022
Performance of Into the Melting Pot in London, 2022

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Clare says, “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), 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 concertplay across England in May 2024. Tickets for the Otley performance cost £19 and are available to book online via Otley Courthouse:

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