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Shalom Edinburgh! Hadar Galron speaks to us about the International Shalom Festival

Writer/performer Hadar Galron is the inspirational artistic director of the three-day-long International Shalom Festival taking place at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this month. Its mission is to "build cultural bridges and celebrate coexistence and peace" by bringing artists from both the Israeli and Palestinian communities to share a dialogue with visitors to the festival. Here she tells Judi Herman how she plans to combat the protests of anti-Israel protestors like BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) by shedding some real light in Edinburgh.

The International Shalom Festival runs Tuesday 8 – Thursday 10 August. Times vary. Donations on the door. Drummond Community High School, Edinburgh, EH7 4BS. www.shalomfestival.org

London wordsmith Jessica Duchen talks about her involvement in the new community opera Silver Birch

Silver Birch – a newly-commissioned community opera about the toll war takes on soldiers and their families – will be premiering at High Wycombe’s Garsington Opera festival this weekend (28-30 July). Ahead of that Judi Herman spoke to novelist and journalist Jessica Duchen, who has written the libretto for composer Roxanna Panufnik’s score. The performance features the poetry of Siegfried Sassoon and, in fact, Sassoon’s great-nephew Stephen Bucknill is singing in the production. Also amid the 180-strong company, two are members of the armed forces and 50 of them are primary school children. Eight-year-old soloist Maia Greaves plays Chloe, the younger sister of the two soldiers at the heart of a story set in the present day, with echoes of the Great War provided by Sassoon’s poetry.

Silver Birch runs Friday 28 – Sunday 30 July. 7.30pm. £5. Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, HP14 3YE. 018 6536 1636. www.garsingtonopera.org

British actor Emma Kingston talks about playing the role of Hodl in Fiddler on the Roof

Hodl is the second daughter of Tevye, the poor dairyman whose family are at the heart of one of the world’s favourite musicals. She falls in love with Perchik, a student and revolutionary, and follows him into exile in Siberia.

“When I got the phone call that I’d been offered [the part], I burst into tears,” says Kingston. Listen as she tells Judi Herman why, and much more about her research for the part, including reading Shalom Aleichem’s original stories on which the musical is based. The actor also discusses her Jewish upbringing; how she and fellow Jewish cast member Tracy-Ann Oberman (who plays Tevye’s wife, Golde) share insights with the rest of the cast; and the joy of rehearsals with Iranian-born actor and comic Omid Djalili in the role of Tevye.

Fiddler on the Roof runs Monday 10 July – Saturday 2 September. 7.30pm, 2.30pm (various Wed, Thu & Sat: phone to confirm). From £10. Chichester Festival Theatre, PO19 6AP. 012 4378 1312. www.cft.org.uk

Read our review of Fiddler on the Roof on the JR Blog.