Victoria Fringe Festival Volunteer Outreach

Interested in joining an amazing community of artists and theatre enthusiasts, all while getting sweet perks like free show tickets? The 2022 Victoria Fringe Festival team is now looking for volunteers! Fringe is a theatre and arts festival with performers from around the world, and live events at six venues. Learn more and sign up at

Summary of event details

MEN OVERBOARD – Upcoming Bema Production

Families are Complicated!
Written by Rich Orloff and Directed by Kevin McKendrick

This award-winning play about an entertaining and complicated family opens on May 5th in Bema’s Black Box Theatre. Playwright Rich Orloff has written a funny and perceptive play about a Bar Mitzvah boy who struggles between obedience and defiance of his father and who doubts he is ready to become a man. The boy’s Bar Mitzvah brings together his politician father and his two brothers, a therapist, a fading, forceful and funny Zaida and a Buddhist monk. Throw in the boy’s Bar Mitzvah tutor; a woman who loves the boy and possibly one of his uncles. Winner of the Long Beach Playhouse New Play Contest and a finalist for the Woodward-Newman New Play Award.

Thursday May 5 –    7:30 pm
Sunday May 8 –       2:30 pm matinee
Monday May 9 –       7:30 pm
Tuesday May 10 –    7:30 pm
Wed May 11 –          7:30 pm
Thursday May 12 – 7:30 pm
Sunday May 15 –     2:30 pm matinee

Tickets $25 at

Men Overboard–a new play from Bema Productions

Bema Productions is back in May with Men Overboard! This award-winning play about an entertaining and complicated family opens 5 May 2022 in Bema’s Black Box Theatre. Playwright Rich Orloff has written a funny and perceptive play about a Bar Mitzvah boy who struggles between obedience and defiance of his father.  Throw a fading zaida and two unusual uncles into the mix and enjoy the fun!

Winner of the Long Beach Playhouse New Play Contest and a finalist for the Woodward-Newman New Play Award, Men Overboard focuses on a Bar Mitzvah for a boy who doubts he’s ready to become a man. The boy’s Bar Mitzvah brings together a politician father and his two uncles: a therapist, and a Buddhist monk. Add a fading but forceful grandfather and the boy’s Bar Mitzvah tutor, a woman who loves the boy and possibly also one of his uncles, and it’s easy to see that the boy may have some struggles.

Tensions grow, affecting everyone in the family, until it becomes clear that the family’s status quo is no longer an option. Men Overboard asks “What makes a man?” as it explores the responsibility each of us has to protect the souls of those we love.

Tickets $25 at  


Thursday 5 May:             7:30 PM
Sunday 8 May:               2:30 PM matinee
Monday 9 May:               7:30 PM
Tuesday 10 May:             7:30 PM
Wednesday 11 May:      7:30 PM
Thursday 12 May:           7:30 PM
Sunday 15 May:               2:30 PM matinee

Summary of event details

Bema Productions, Looking Ahead

Emanu-El’s very own theatre company, Bema Productions, is back in full swing.  Rehearsals have begun for Men Overboard by Rich Orloff – an award-winning play that is a wonderful combination of humor, relationships and religion. Men Overboard opens May 5th, hopefully by then to full capacity seating.  We also look forward to our Readers Theatre Festival that had to be postponed in January. Many of Emanu-El’s own youth are looking forward to presenting two thought provoking and enlightening plays: Dear Anne, from Nina and By Candlelight, both by award-winning playwright, Claudia Haas.

Play Club

Play Club is back! Plays are read or attended/viewed, then discussed. Interesting theatre with interesting people. Please contact Rachel through the shul office for information:

Three extraordinary plays are upcoming:

Little Red Warrior by Kevin Loring

Kevin is a very irreverent, inventive and provocative playwright, as well as being the first Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre. 

The Unplugging by Yvette Nolan

A thoughtful and lightly humourous piece about the wisdom of elder women and importance of traditional knowledge, as well as an intergenerational romance. 

The Breathing Hole by Colleen Murphy

Set in the Arctic, this is an epic in both scale and ideas featuring a 500 year old polar bear.  Colleen is a brilliant creative force in Canadian theatre and a master storyteller.

For information, contact Rachel through the shul office:

BEMA’s Readers Theatre Festival Postponed

Our many youth and adult thespians were days from starting rehearsals when, sadly, we had to postpone due to the Covid surge. 

We will reschedule as soon as it is safe to do so. Purchased tickets can be refunded or used on the new date (TBA).

Cast from 2019 Bema Productions’, And a Child Shall Lead, with Director Zelda Dean

Bēma Productions:  Until the Flood

Opens Thursday, December 2, 2021, 7:30 pm in Bēma’s Black Box Theatre. Leipzig ends on November 21, 2021, and the kudos are pouring in for that wonderful production. Until the Flood by Dael Orlandersmith moves into Bēma’s Black Box Theatre on Thursday, December 2, 2021—following it’s run at Langham Court Theatre as part of the collaboration between three theatre companies. So, if you missed it there, here is your opportunity to see this powerful and timely play.

Until the Flood is a gripping and insightful docudrama drawn from extensive interviews following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. Orlandersmith creates composite characters who reflect a wide range of perspectives and experiences of racial prejudice, hatred, and self-righteousness that embodies the many faces of the community rallying for justice and reveals a country yearning for truth and justice. Until the Flood compels us to face the truth and only by awareness can we find the crucial sense of hope. This play is entertainment rich in the enlightenment and provocation that makes theatre exciting and dangerous.

Critics quotes:

Chicago Tribune. “A stunning theatrical experience that is palpably compassionate and Must be seen”

New York Times. “She brings the questions, the pain, and the unspeakable thoughts of hundreds, if not millions, to life. An urgent moral inquest!” The Guardian

Tickets may be purchased here. For further information contact Zelda Dean.

Bēma Productions presents “O My God”

OMYGODGRAPHIC-NLJanuary 16 – 26, 2020Bēma Productions, now in its sixth season, is excited to present the Canadian premiere of the comedy, “O My God”, by the Israeli playwright, Anat Gov at Congregation Emanu-El, Black Box Theatre. “O My God” is directed by Zelda Dean, and performed by Christine Upright (the therapist), Rosemary Jeffery (God) and Jesse Wilson (the autistic son of the therapist and is himself on the autism spectrum). Performances are scheduled for the following dates:
  • Thursday January 16, 7:30 pm
  • Saturday January 18, 7:30 pm
  • Sunday January 19, 3:00 pm
  • Tuesday January 21, 7:30 pm
  • Wednesday January 22, 7:30 pm
  • Thursday January 23, 7:30 pm
  • Saturday January 25, 7:30 pm
  • Sunday January 26, 3:00 pm
Tickets: $23 available online at or at the door.
Media Enquiries: Zelda Dean Telephone: 250-881-2094.

Bēma initiates our Leil Sliḥot service with a reading of The Gates are Closing

The Gates are Closing Jewish 1000Saturday, September 21, 2019 7 pm — This year Congregation Emanu-El will introduce our Sliḥot prayers for the High Holy Days in an unusual way, a reading of the award-winning contemporary play, The Gates Are Closing. Beginning Saturday, September 21 at 7 pm preceding the traditional Sliḥot service, 10 members of the Jewish community will take the parts of a varied yet inspired minyan of Jews in the synagogue on Yom Kippur as they grapple with issues of identity, meaning, repentance and forgiveness.

This award-winning play had its first staged reading at the Jewish Repertory Theatre in New York in May 1986. Since then it has been presented in hundreds of synagogues and college campuses from Brooklyn to Beijing, including a signed performance by Temple Beth Solomon of the Deaf in Arleta, California.

Over the years many rabbis and congregations have treasured the play including Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, who described it as “a drama of great religious insight and nuance, instigating probably the most thoughtfully lively High Holy Day preparation our congregation ever had.”

The playwright, Merle Feld, is a widely published poet whose work frequently appears in anthologies and prayer books including the new Conservative High Holy Day Maḥzor Lev Shalem, the Siddur Lev Shalem, and the Reform Movement Women’s Torah Commentary. She is also the author of a popular memoir in poetry and prose, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (SUNY Press, revised 2007) and a recent book of her poems, Finding Words (URJ Press, 2011).

Feld is moved and delighted that The Gates are Closing, written early in her career, has retained its urgency and spiritual power for such a vast audience nationally and internationally. “It feels miraculous to me that every fall these characters come to life again—in Philadelphia and San Diego, Youngstown and Nashville, Virginia, Arizona, San Antonio, Australia, and London—and that these characters continue to provide a gateway for Jews across the denominations who are searching for meaning.”

A Little Crazy: Bēma at the Fringe

A Little Crazy - NL BemaBēma Productions is thrilled to present their fifth Victoria Fringe Festival production, the comedy “A Little Crazy” written by Joseph Reed Hayes, directed by Zelda Dean and performed by Toshik Bukowiecki & Michael Rodgers.  All performances take place at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria.

Thursday August 22, 7 pm
Sunday August 25, 2 pm
Monday August 26, 7 pm
Tuesday August 27, 7 pm
Wednesday August 28, 7 pm
Thursday August 29, 7 pm
Sunday September 1, 2 pm

TICKETS: $11 are available online from at or or in person at Ticket Rocket Lounge: 10 am–5 pm, Monday to Friday at 1050 Meares Street and at Fringe HQ beginning August 20: noon–7 pm daily at 2–1609 Blanshard (at Fisgard, across from Romeo’s), or at the door.