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Hannah Rovina

(1892 - 1980)

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Hannah Rovina, known as “the First Lady of Israeli Theater,” was born in Russia and trained as a kindergarten teacher. In 1917 she joined a Hebrew theatrical studio in Moscow, which was to form the basis of Habimah, and thus became one of Habimah’s founding members. Her role as Leah in An-ski’s The Dybbuk in 1922 earned her a reputation as a leading actress, renown which increased as she toured Europe and the United States with Habimah.

Rovina moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1928 and her work in the theater established her reputation as Israel’s leading actress. A picture of her from The Dybbuk became one of Habimah’s key publicity photos. Known for her deep voice, regal carriage, and impressive performances, she was famous in the international theater community as well. Her range of performances spanned Hebrew productions, Shakespeare, and classical plays. Memorable roles by Rovina also include several mothers, as in the mother of the Messiah in Pinsky’s The Eternal Jew; the title role of Brecht’s Mother Courage; and Jocasta in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.

Rovina was awarded the Israel Prize in 1956 for her contribution to Israeli theater.

Sources: The Pedagogic Center, The Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The Jewish Agency for Israel, (c) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, Director: Dr. Motti Friedman, Webmaster: Esther Carciente

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