Orly Orbach’s work explores participatory and interactive ways of making narratives come to life. She is interested in finding alternative means of assembling and disseminating stories, creating objects, environments, workshops and interactive performances through which stories are experienced.

Her projects include permanent site-specific artworks. temporary interventions for public spaces, museums, galleries, libraries and schools, ephemeral and transient books, collaborations with theatre companies, community-based residencies, socially-engaged regeneration projects and consultations.

Clients include the British Museum, the London Transport Museum, the Bronte Parsonage Museum, Keats House, Charleston House, Museums Sheffield, Camden Arts Centre, the South Bank Centre and Royal Festival Hall, Creativity Works, Dandelion Projects, William Morris Gallery, Waltham Forest and Barking Council.

“My research looks at heritage in migration, examining how children embody their cultural heritage in diaspora through supplementary school plays performed at the Museum of London. Children improve their heritage language, learn about their country of origin and discover their ancestors’ histories in UK supplementary schools. During museum festivals children perform traditional folk-tales, myths and historical plays bringing lesser known cultural memories to the museum, widening its heritage programme. 

Supplementary school plays draw on children’s capacity to inhabit imaginative worlds, making leaps into different temporalities and geographies that reach beyond the boundaries of the UK’s national curriculum. The plays exists in the liminal world of child’s play that overlap with global politics, moving between reconstructions of national memories and realms of make-belief. 

Performances are fleeting forms of heritage transmission to which the voice is central. Retrospective drawings allow me to study more carefully who is orating heritage by examining how space is reconfigured. These drawings of Albanian school plays hint at the hidden layers of heritage-oration. In one drawing the microphone towers over the children as if meant for their ancestors depicted in the backdrop behind them. In another image the microphone is lowered: the child speaks as her teacher hold the mike. Moments of visual serendipity are revealed through the drawing process: a girl’s frilly skirt animates wing-shaped shadows onto her knees resembling the Albanian flag, the leader of a line of Albanian dancers appears to cover his mouth as if to give the girl her turn to speak.”