Last produced by New Theatre in 2001, they are proud to be revisiting this poignant and heartfelt play to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Anne’s death at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and the millions of other victims of the Holocaust.
Anne Frank dreamt of immortality as a writer; she little realised that it would be her teenage diary that would make her one of the most powerful voices of the twentieth century. In German-occupied Amsterdam during World War II, the Frank family has gone into hiding with other Jewish friends in the attic of Otto Frank’s warehouse in order to escape persecution and imprisonment.
For two years, eight people live in one room, in fear of their lives, and 13-year old Anne documents their existence in forensic detail. Through her precocious and critical eyes are revealed the petty disputes, the personality clashes, the little shared pleasures: until, betrayed, they are discovered and sent to various concentration camps.
Anne, her sister and mother all perished, but her father survived and published his daughter’s diary as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
This dramatic adaptation by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (whose credits as screenwriters include It’s a Wonderful Life, Easter Parade, Father of the Bride and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) won both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Best Play.
Director Sam Thomas brought this project to New Theatre and we’re excited to be producing her mainstage directorial debut, following on from stints as Assistant Director on Hay Fever and Sweeney Todd, plus realising a workshop production of the new Australian play The Matilda Waltz for the Sydney Fringe Festival in 2014.
“Anne Frank and her family were very normal, ordinary people who laughed and loved, who had hopes and dreams,” says Sam. “They were funny, smart, kind and flawed – just like you and me. However, they were Jewish and under the Nazi regime, that fact sealed their fate.
“Little has changed. Around the world, people are being imprisoned, tortured or murdered simply because of their religion, sexuality, race or gender. People often forget that in addition to the six million Jews that were murdered during the Holocaust, there were another five million people who were also killed for being ‘sub-human’ including the disabled, mentally ill, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, communists and gypsies. It is so important to keep telling this story.”
“Ignorance breeds fear. We are scared of things we don’t understand, it’s a natural human reaction. So, as a community, we need to have more dialogue so that we come to understand each other better. If just one person who sees this production of The Diary of Anne Frank simply thinks twice before judging someone who is different from them, then I will be happy. Anne believed that people really are good at heart. I do too.”
With a top cast and a creative team reuniting Privates on Parade designers Allan Walpole (set) and Famke Visser (costumes), together with lighting by Heidi Brosnan (To Kill a Mockingbird) and an original score composed by Leonie Cohen, The Diary of Anne Frank promises to be a memorable theatrical experience.
In association with the production of The Diary of Anne Frank, New Theatre are presenting three special events:
Intolerance Forum: Sunday 21 June – 2.00pm
Holocaust Survivor Talk: Sunday 28 June – 3.00pm
Post-show Q&A with cast and director: Sunday 5 July
Director: Sam Thomas Cast: James Bean, Caroline Levien, Rowena McNicol, Jessie Miles, Jodine Muir, Martin Portus, Martin Searles, Geoff Sirmai, Justina Ward, David Wiernik Set Design: Allan Walpole Lighting Design: Heidi Brosnan Costume Design: Famke Visser Sound Design: James Ackland Original Music: Leonie Cohen Assistant Director: Claudia Barrie Assistant to the Director: Christie Wykes Set Construction: Rodger Wishart Production/Stage Management: Jo Jewitt
The Diary of Anne Frank
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season continues to 11 July 2015
For more information, visit: www.newtheatre.org.au for details.
Image: Justina Ward as Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank – photo by Bob Seary ©