Tales of Chelm

Episode 1: How the Town of Chelm Came To Be

JArts TheatreWorks Group Presents

Tales of Chelm: How the Town of Chelm Came To Be


The first installment in the series, “How the Town of Chelm Came To Be” is an origin story told entirely through shadow puppetry. Audiences are invited to witness the plight of two angels, sent by God and instructed to create a more holistic society. The first angel collects wise folk to disperse among other populations. The second angel attempts to gather all of the foolish folk from across the land and places them in a sack; however, her plan is thwarted when the sack hits a tree, releasing its contents and resulting in a town inhabited exclusively by fools. 


Watch Episode 1 of Tales of Chelm

About Tales of Chelm

Watch the Tales of Chelm trailer

The JArtsTM TheatreWorks production of Tales of Chelm is based on the  book, “The Wise Folk of Chelm” by Rabbi Seymour Rossel.

Adaptors Jesse Garlick and Dori Robinson approach classic Jewish folktales through a modern lens in  Tales of Chelm, reimagined by JArts Theatreworks. Composed of four segments,  Tales of Chelm  utilizes innovate performance techniques, such as puppets, masks and clowning, to tell the stories of the people of Chelm— Eastern European villagers who considered themselves uniquely wise, and whose antics have been amusing us since the sixteenth century. Learn how the town of Chelm came to be, follow along as they attempt the seemingly impossible, and discover why Jewish culture has rendered these stories immortal. Zany fun for all ages! 

Read About Chelm:

“What You Always Wanted To Know About Chelm Before You Ever Knew About Chelm” by Rabbi Seymour Rossel

“Celebrating Chelm, or Shlimazel Tov” by Stuart J. Hecht

Q&A with Adaptor Jesse Garlick and Author Judy Bolton-Fasman

Download our Tales of Chelm Coloring Page, the perfect supplementary activity for young audiences:



Jesse Garlick is a Boston based actor, director and theater educator. 

Off-Broadway credits: Good (PTP/Atlantic), Who Would Be King (Ars Nova/Liars & Believers). Regional credits: A Christmas Carol, Journey to the West, Arcadia (Central Square Theatre) Good, Assassins, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New Repertory Theatre) Who Would Be King, Yellow Bird Chase, A Story Beyond (Liars & Believers), Hamlet, As You Like It (Brown Box Theatre Project) Salome (Bridge Rep) Beowulf (Poets Theatre). Jesse is a former faculty member at the Boston Ballet’s ECI Department. In addition, Jesse has taught acting, devising and movement at numerous schools and summer programs across the Northeast. Jesse holds a BFA in acting from Boston University as well as having attended the Academia Dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy and Shakespeare&Company in Lenox, MA. He is currently an MFA candidate at the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University as well as acting Education Director for the Boston based devising company Liars & Believers, with whom he will be bringing the original deaf-accessible play Yellow Bird Chase to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2022. 

Dori Robinson is a director, playwright, dramaturg, and educator. She seeks and develops projects that explore social consciousness, personal heritage, and the difference one individual has on their community. Some of her great loves are the Oxford comma, trees, intersectional feminism, and exchanging with artistic collaborators. 

With a Masters degree from New York University’s Educational Theatre program, Dori has been a director and experiential educator for years.  As an avid teaching artist, she shares her love of Shakespeare, new play development, physical theatre, political theatre, and gender in performance. Directing credits include: Silent Sky (Elliot Norton Winner for Best Production – Fringe, Flat Earth Theatre), A Bright Room Called DayJulius Caesar (co-director), The Merchant of VeniceDie Kleinen (Parts 1 & 2), The Lion in WinterExtremitiesFlightPippinJames and the Giant Peach, and Peter and the Starcatcher. Dori’s original plays have been produced in New York, Chicago, and Boston, including: The Great HarvestThe Principal StreamName of a WomanSix Wings to One, and most recently The Elm Tree with her company, Alight Theater Guild.


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