Leeds has got talent

By Sasha Brenner, June 17, 2009
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Adi Bielski in An Israeli Love Story, a true-life romance set against the 1948 War of Indepedence

Adi Bielski in An Israeli Love Story, a true-life romance set against the 1948 War of Indepedence

The Leeds Jewish International Performing Arts Festival opens on Sunday, heralding five days of comedy, theatre, dance, film and music, from 30 top acts from across the globe.

Headlining on the opening night is the New York-based Barbra Streisand impersonator Steven Brinberg with his award-winning tribute act Simply Barbra. Composer Marvin Hamlisch is a big fan – “You almost think: 'My God! Is that really Streisand? Very impressive.”

Representing home grown talent is comedian Mark Maier, a star of Jewish comedy scene, and a regular on TV shows.

From Israel, the platinum album-selling singer/songwriter Ronit Shahar will be performing an intimate ‘unplugged’ set of her most famous songs, in both English and Hebrew. Early in her career, Shahar sang with Shlomo Artzi, one of Israel's leading artistes, as well as supporting Neil Young and Joan Armatrading. She is currently working on her fourth album.

Israeli singer Ronit Shahar

Israeli singer Ronit Shahar

Along with all the international stars, the festival will be adding a new string to its bow - a showcase where performers from the local Jewish community, children to seniors, will be able to display their talents on stage.

The festival, now in its ninth year, is organised by Makor Charitable Trust, the Jewish Culture Office for Leeds and Yorkshire, and is directed by Ellie Ruhan.

Full details can be found at www.leedsjewishfestival.co.uk or call 0113 268 0899

    Last updated: 10:25am, June 18 2009