The Technion Theatre was established in the department of Humanities & Arts by Prof. Michael Moore, and created by Dr. Ouriel Zohar in 1986. Today undergraduate students at the Technion are offered eight theatre courses. Interested students who want to participate in theatre production should first of all take the initial courses which are the basis of the theatre knowledge. The courses are: “Acting and Directing”, “(Acting) Drama Circle”, “Dramatic Writing”, “Israeli Drama”, and “Peter Brook’s directing”. After that, the students are ready for the 3 pre-production and the production courses. Theatre production is very difficult work because of the necessity to recreate a show. At the beginning, students work on a production even on weekends. These rehearsals are very profound meetings of culture and philosophy and engender a very lively time.
The first theatre production was shown at the Churchill hall and at the Cinema hall of the students’ center. After that, the department built a theatre of only 120 seats. This hall is very intimate and very special for the students, stimulating the creation of a unique communication style with the audience. The hall has flexibility which permits an experimental stage and inventive structures. In 2004 the Technion Theatre presented 3 play productions, attended by about 1200 persons.
Since the start of his work at the Technion Theatre in the Department of Humanities & Arts, in 1986, Dr. Zohar has developed his idea of combining several elements of science, philosophy and arts, which he has summarized in his book: The importance of theatre research in the scientific-technological university (to be published). This is an idea of a holistic theatre that integrates multidiscipline research. See his article in the bookThéâtre et Science, Franch-Comté University, 1998.
Dr. Zohar has directed and acted in 17 professional productions and has also directed 43 University theatre productions, 38 of them at the Technion Theatre. He directed classics such as Shakespeare, Molière and Marivaux; modern drama such as John Hughes, Steven Soderberg; Jewish drama such as René d’Obadia and Dayan; and Hebrew theatre such as Levine and Sobol. The Technion Theatre is invited to the most important theatre festivals all over the world. Zohar has directed, translated, and acted in professional productions. In Acre, The Israeli Fringe Theatre 14th Festival in 1993, he received Honour of Distinction. In 2002-3 in France he played the main role of Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Dr. Zohar has written 22 plays which he staged and directed in Israel and in Europe. Most of the plays have been written by him solely, but 6 of them were written with/by his students for the Technion Theatre: Mixed Marriage (1987), The Soft Mattress (1988), Sulam El-Salam (1991), Secrets (1998), Bureaucracy of Death(2004), and Pulsations (2004). Secret” is considered as his best achievement. It is not a story of stars, but a story of the secret life of his science students.
In 1990 Dr. Zohar published his book Meetings with Peter Brook. The book has become a popular manuscript for anybody wishing to have a basic idea about the theatre ideology of one of the most important figures in the world theatre directing.
Zohar’s first novel, The Giants and the Children of the Sun, was awarded “Best Novel 1997” by The Writers’ Association and Haifa Cultural Foundation.
Dr. Zohar has published in total more than 127 publications. He has received several “Best Technion Lecturer distinction” awards for his outstanding lecturing. From 1994 to 1999, he served as the Vice-President of the important university theatre association “The International University Theatre Association” (AITU-IUTA), established in 1994 at The University of Liège, Belgium.
Dr. Zohar is also a Visiting Professor at two universities in Paris for his theatre and communications lecturing.