Julia turns to mother’s family for her new play

POET Philip Larkin famously declared that your parents mess you up — or at least words to that effect.

And that certainly seems the case for Julia Pascal, not that it has left her embittered.

Instead, the acclaimed theatre writer and director has used many aspects of her familial background to pen and direct numerous award-winning productions.

Julia’s latest work is A Manchester Girlhood, which is centred around her mother, Isabel, and her aunts, Pearl Daube and Edith Newman.

The three siblings — like Julia — were born in Manchester to Romanian Jewish immigrants Esther and Emmanuel Jacobs.

“It explores the main events of the 20th century, but through these sisters’ eyes,” Julia told me from her London home.

“My mother, the eldest, was extremely jealous of the two sisters who came along after her as she was no longer the sole girl.

“That jealously continued into when the sisters were in their 80s.

“The play is a poignant vision of the 20th century, but it also takes in universal areas of identity.”

It will premiere at the Manchester Jewish Museum on April 23, followed by a run at JW3, the Jewish community centre in north London, and The Old Electric community space, in Blackpool.

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