Mural pays tribute to stage heroes

August 15, 2008

A mural was unveiled this week to mark the 80th anniversary of a North London theatre with strong links to Jewish writers and performers.

The Embassy Theatre, the home of the Central School of Speech and Drama since 1956, was a centre for new writing about contemporary issues in the 1920s and 1930s. It specialised in plays about the Jewish community, notably The King of the Schnorrers by Israel Zangwill and A Gambler in Brides, performed in 1929, for which the audience were provided with a glossary of Yiddish terms.

The mural, designed by Natalie Perkins, features Theodore Bikel, who appeared in You can't take it With You in 1948 and Leo Glenn, from Jitta's Atonement in 1937. It also depicts Rose Quong, a Chinese actress who was the only non-Jew in A Gambler in Brides.

The mural also shows the well-known black actor and singer Paul Robeson, who played the lead at the Embassy in a 1933 production of Eugene O'Neill's All God's Chillun Got Wings. A charity performance of the play raised nearly £2,000 for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

Last updated: 4:40pm, August 14 2008