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Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)


SCoJeC Recreates History:
Telling Tales with a Twist!

Click here to watch videos of two of Robbie's and Danny's stories


6 September 2020

The Besht Tellers

More than 100 people from all over Scotland, England, and even France, the USA, Israel, and Australia joined SCoJeC for a magical and never-to-be repeated evening: the reunion, after 25 years, of celebrated storytelling duo The Besht Tellers.

The Besht Tellers

In the early 90’s, Robbie Gringras and Danny Scheinmann wowed audiences with a unique blend of Jewish storytelling and physical theatre in their hit show Telling Tales. In this one-off performance, Danny and Robbie told some of their favourite stories from decades of storytelling – and added a few new real-life tales with a twist.

The reunion came about after SCoJeC’s Projects and Outreach Manager Fiona Frank happened to be chatting at an online Klezmer festival with another story teller who used to perform with Robbie and Danny, and she introduced them. When Fiona asked them if they would like to do a storytelling evening for SCoJeC, they replied that one of them lives in Israel and the other in London, and they hadn’t even seen each other for years! But thanks to the magic of Zoom, and some technical sleight of hand – and the help of Ed Horwich from the Jewish Small Communities Network – many of Robbie and Danny’s old friends (and Robbie and Danny themselves!) were able to relive their youth and enjoy a magic, sparkling evening of stories and fun.

The Besht Tellers

For Danny and Robbie the evening was an opportunity to catch up with each other in a very public way about what they've been doing since they last worked together. Robbie told a beautiful story about the clash of cultures when his English mother and his Moroccan mother-in-law met for the first time over a welcome meal; and Danny told a story about the consequences of being inadvertently caught up in an Israeli court case, and another about a flock of goats invading a theatre performance! These real-life stories were mixed with traditional tales, Jewish and otherwise, about the secret of happiness, what a woman really wants, a retelling of the 'emperor's new clothes' story, and many more.  At the end of the evening, some of our audience treated us to an extra couple of stories of their own – or remembered from Besht Teller shows of yore – and we all left the event happier, uplifted, and connected. 

After the show, we asked the audience to vote for their favourite story from the evening, but there was no consensus – every one was a winner! As people told us:

It was proof that humour doesn't have to be insulting or politically incorrect!

I really enjoyed the stories and being captured by their telling of them.

Robbie and Danny are as good as ever, and working the medium to great effect.

It was a real lift to watch and listen to their stories – we laughed and our spirits were lifted in these difficult times. So do please pass on our thanks to Robbie and Danny for agreeing to perform and thanks also to you and all those who made it possible for this event to take place.

Others commented on the organisation of the event itself and the atmosphere it created:

I thought you did a lot to make the whole evening "live " and theatrical! really good for that. Robbi and Danny's story telling captivating.

The amazing guys back together, the quality of the story-telling, the sense of being part of a big Jewish event.

It was a joy to see them perform together again after so long. Do more of it! It’s what the world needs.

Some people also commented on the nominal price we charged to people who had lost their jobs because of the pandemic:

Thank you for the event, and the special price. Very much appreciated.

And many thanked SCoJeC and Fiona for putting on the event:

Thanks Fiona, you should be truly proud.

Thank you very much for putting in the work to make this happen.

You provide an important resource in building a proud and connected community.

Robbie and Danny also thanked Fiona, SCoJeC and the Jewish Small Communities Network for making it happen, and Danny added the heartfelt wish: “May we all meet again in 3D speedily and in our days”.

Reflecting afterwards, Danny told us: “Bringing the Besht Tellers back was never on our agenda until we were sent a copy of an email to Fiona about potential storytellers. Then suddenly it seemed like a great idea! I loved seeing Robbie again and catching up with him after all this time. We spent a good part of our rehearsal time just chatting about what we had been up to and sharing personal stories that then became part of the show. It was like slotting back in to an old groove – we still had a deep understanding of each other and a shared vocabulary of stories and techniques.

The Besht Tellers

I was nervous beforehand because I didn’t know if it would work in zoom, but in the event I really enjoyed the evening, and it was great that so many old friends were watching. We got a strong sense of the audience through the chat function and we received a lot of feedback that the old magic was still there!”

Robbie added: “Despite everything people say about online meetings, for me there was nothing techie, alienating, or cold about it! Working through the stories (and catching up on life a little!) with Danny was just as much fun as I might have imagined, and the feeling of warmth and community that spread throughout the show itself was extraordinary. Something about the combination of prepared stories and crazy tech and the ability (and willingness!) of people to write in the chat whenever they wanted – all made for the feeling that we were all, just for an hour or so, together. I’m still on a high – from having fun with Danny again, and from the happiness that just spread and spread.”

With thanks to the Netherlee and Clarkston Charitable Trust for their support of SCoJeC’s event programme.
Click here to watch videos of two of Robbie's and Danny's stories


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Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029438