Feminist Theater Master-Classes: Reconstructing the Judith story

June - October 2018

Facilitated by Nessa Norich, Mati Engel and special guests speakers


An inspiring series creating art of resistance at the intersection of sisterhood, activism and spirituality.

This summer, Well of Wills presents a series of feminist theatre workshops that reconstruct the Biblical story of Judith. Judith is a heroine of the Jewish canon, who liberates her people from the oppression and violence of a colonizing ruler. This project seeks to activate the Judith’s in us all with a close study of the narrative through the lens of feminist theory. Through theatrical interpretation, we will collectively author a new story that responds to the shocking political reality of 2018 to develop pathways of resistance to ongoing forces of oppression.

There will be 5 main topics explored in this series. Each topic will be introduced and discussed by the group at a Thursday Evening Salon. The texts and discussions from this salon will be used as source material for the subsequent Sunday Afternoon Theater Lab. Each Sunday will end with a sharing of work created amongst the ensemble/group. Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions, but full attendance at each session is not required. 

Total cost of the Summer Series $90.  
Individual Master Classes are also available for $30/class. 


Session #1: UNOTHERING: SPEAKING OURSELVES INTO POWER (Complimentary and open to all, commitment-free)





For dates and details on Master Class content please visit our Master Class Topics page.

Participants will learn the following Performance Techniques:

  • Composing autobiographical performance

  • Narration using poetic movement

  • Developing feminist narrative structure

  • Transforming ideas into visual form using poetic movement, character, and storytelling

  • Enhancing performance skills such as physical presence, vocal technique, embodied movement and acting.

Through discussion and collaboration, this creative process is meant to foster allyship and community amongst all who identify personally with the struggle for gender equity*. We welcome womxn, female-identifying, gender non-conforming, and trans folks.


*What do we mean when you say, “all who identify personally with the struggle for gender equity”. Who is that specifically including?

This work will explore themes of patriarchal oppression and violence from the point of view of those who have been victim to those forces, and centering and empowering these voices. We encourage the participation of womxn, female-identifying, queer, trans, and gender non-conforming folks because these communities are most affected. This project centers around the female or femme experience specifically because we seek to use the story of Judith to inspire allyship and resistance through creative collaboration amongst those who share this lived experience. 


Breaking it down:

1 Master Class Session = 1 Thursday Night Salon + 1 Sunday Afternoon Theater Lab

Theater Labs are a space to explore and interpret the texts using theater and performance techniques. In these sessions we will be physically active, engaging in movement, vocalization and collaborative creation. Sunday, 3-7pm

Salons will focus on source text study and discussion. Sources will include: traditional Jewish texts, interviews, theoretical essays, and works of art. Thursday, 7-9pm

Source materials will include:

  • The Biblical text of Judith

  • Feminist literature and theology, including works by Audre Lorde, Judith Plaskow, and Mary Daly

  • Autobiographical stories

  • Interviews

  • Other works by resistance artists

Nessa Norich 

Director | Facilitator
Nessa Norich is a theater artist who trained at the Lecoq school for physical theater in Paris. She has collaboratively created over a dozen original works of theater in NYC and Europe, at such notable venues as the Institute for Contemporary Art, The Battersea Arts Center, and the British Film Institute in London, the Edinburgh Fringe, Showbox Festival in Oslo, the New Orleans Fringe Festival, and Magic Futurebox and Joe’s Pub in New York City. Her work has received critical acclaim most notably in the Huffington Post and the NY Times and has been recognized with a 2016 NY Innovative Theater Award. Nessa is co-artistic director of the award-winning theater company, The NY Neo-Futurists. Nessa is also the Education Director and Facilitator for Shine on in Schools, a workshop for Bronx Public elementary students that uses dance to cultivate imagination, self expression and empathy. Nessa has also taught Devised Theater at Columbia and Pace Universities. www.NessaNorich.com

Mati Engel
Dramaturg | Facilitator
Mati is currently pursuing her Masters in Theology at the University of Chicago. She splits her time between her academic pursuits and community-based art. She is currently producing and facilitating an installation piece called, "Women who Kaddish" to increase awareness surrounding Jewish women's perspectives on grief and loss. Previous to this, Mati lived in Washington D.C and worked as the Director of National Initiatives at the Embassy of Israel, after having studied Israeli politics as a Dorot Fellow in Tel Aviv. In 2014, Mati was named a "36 under 36" by the Jewish Week, after having successfully produced the "What I Be: Jews of NYC" photo series, which sent currents of controversy and conversations addressing mental health and social stigmas in the Jewish community.


Please find more information above, in the drop-down menu of The Judith Project.


This project is made possible with the support of UJA Brooklyn ArtsxCommunity Grant.