Artist Spotlight: Eliya Rodeh
What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
My first theatre experience was at the age of 4. It was an Israeli musical version of Peter Pan. The whole production was beautiful and included many amazing actors, but one of them stood out to me – Sasson Gabay. He was playing Captain Hook and was so enchanting that instead of being intimidated, I actually fell in love with the character. (And until this day Captain Hook is my favorite character in Peter Pan.) Growing up I was so very lucky to be able to watch actors like Gabay on stage. Their incredible level of artistry drew me into the stories they were telling, they showed me the magic of theatre and how everything was made possible on stage. From a very young age, it sparked my imagination and made me fall in love with theatre and acting, and still inspires me today.
What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
I was a very shy and introverted kid. So music and theatre were my way to express myself and be anything I didn’t dare to be in the real world. With the support of my mother, I was lucky to take the path of artistic studies from elementary school through college, while performing for local and international communities. In my early 20’s I studied classical vocal performance at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. During my studies, I was cast in the first production of ‘Into the Woods’ in Israel. It was the first time I worked on a musical, and it opened up a whole new world for me. I found freedom like never before and felt that I just belonged there. Because Israel doesn’t have a lot to offer in this field, I started looking for musical theatre and acting programs abroad. I moved to New York City, completed the Stella Adler Conservatory Program and currently flourishing at the HB International Students Program.
What do you need as an artist today?
* Community – to be a part of a supportive community is very important for me. It is not easy to be an artist in a big city, especially not as a transplant without my ‘natural’ support system. So finding a supportive environment that encourages creativity and provides support is fundamental for my work as an artist.
* Exposure – we need our art to be seen. I want to get to new audiences and be able to reach as many people as I can.
* Resources – space to rehearse and perform, help to engage the best professionals out there, so we can put together quality shows while still being able to pay our bills.
What creative project are you working on now?
My passion for creating art and my strong belief in art as a form of communication and storytelling led me to join forces with a few other passionate actors and form a theatre production company, ‘Dirty Laundry Theatre’; together we seek to tell cross-cultural human stories and help our audience relate to other ethnical groups they’re not necessarily familiar with or fond of. We’ve just received our first ‘validation event’ when our first play “Borders”, which we premiered at the NY Theatre Festival this past summer, was nominated for Best Play of the year!!! I’m super excited about what’s coming up next! We’re now planning our first official season and just launched our fundraising campaign! As part of our first season, we’re developing an immersive piece, which combines a theatrical experience with a high-end dinner. The audience is invited to join a traditional family Shabbat dinner where they become a part of the family dynamic, when it goes right and when it goes wrong.
What does it mean to you to have an organization like the AICF supporting artists and culture?