In this exhibition the Museum of the Yiddish Theatre presents you
with a history of the Folksbiene, from 1915 (when it was known as
the "Fraye Idishe Folks Bine") and operated under the auspices of the
Arbeter Ring as its Branch 555, a semi-professional company, up to
the present. This marvelous exhibition includes a history of the
organization that was included in the third volume (1939) of Zalmen
Zylbercweig's "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre." It has
been translated from its original Yiddish into English. This
historical biography traces the
early days of the Folksbiene and is interspersed
with information and display advertisements that refer to many of the plays and
programs that it had staged during this time.
You will also be able to see many
of the photographs (production stills) that were taken of these plays.
You can stare at any of these photos and imagine being there during
You will be able to familiarize
yourself with the content of these plays by reading a review of the
play, which is included for many of the plays mentioned here, as well as the many play synopses,
which summarize the action of the play. It is hoped that this
exhibition will educate and aid the research of those of you who are
interested in Yiddish theatre, and the Folksbiene in particular.
You will also have access to the cast
listings, and thus you will have the opportunity to learn
which actors and actresses were most often cast in roles, such as the actors Joshua Zeldis and Morris Adler, as well as
the actress Zypora Spaisman and Sara Stabin.
This exhibition will also give you not
only a chronological history of the Folksbiene's activity, but it will
demonstrate to you the Folksbiene's ongoing dedication to providing the
mostly Yiddish-speaking public with highly entertaining, and often
productions of well-acted plays that were written by some of our most
well-known Yiddish playwrights.
The Museum of the Yiddish Theatre
wishes to acknowledge the Folksbiene, especially Sabina Brukner and
Zalmen Mlotek, for
their cooperation in the
construction of this online exhibition.
This exhibition would not have been
possible if not for the collection of Zypora Spaisman, who often
starred in Folksbiene productions, and YIVO, which graciously
allowed me to use the material from the collection for this
My thanks also goes to
the estate of Zalmen Zylbercweig z"l, who edited the Folksbiene
history in his "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre." Zalmen Zylbercweig spent so much of his
life striving to honor and preserve the history of the Yiddish theatre
and its participants for both his and future generations. May his memory
be a blessing!
I hope you will enjoy this multimedia
exhibition as much as I did in curating it ...
Founder and Director, Museum of the Yiddish
And now, we
begin a journey of many decades ...