Souvenir d'Anne Frank Outreach Programme

Painting Lifelines

Richard Aylwin (visual artist) and Elizabeth Mansfield (writer and performer) from Ensemble's creative team will deliver the workshops, together with the education team of the Anne Frank Trust.

In Painting Lifelines participants will lead with their own responses to the source material of Souvenir d'Anne Frank through the creation of a poetic, collective, visual score: A map of shared experience. The marks and pathways that we paint together on a giant canvas will evoke new arrangements of ideas, compositions of words, and images, in an intuitive creative process that everyone can enjoy. This collaborative process will include the Anne Frank Trust's mentoring and advocacy work.

Painting Lifelines will be offered to schools, community groups and youth groups.

'Anne Frank' has been taught as part of primary education for a number of years, and this project offers young people an opportunity to re-engage from a more mature perspective with these powerful themes.

The first six of the series will bring together different generations from Somali, Polish, Kosovan, Japanese, Jewish and Caribbean communities, in Manchester, and will take place between August and October 2011.

Thirty further workshops will be offered during the project which, following performances in Manchester, is planned to tour to York, Bolton, Ipswich, Spelthorne, Poole, and Greenwich, between February and April 2012.

Plantings of the 'Souvenir d'Anne Frank Rose' sent specially from Japan, will take place in each place the project visits. Signings of the 'Anne Frank Declaration for the New Millenium' will be part of each event. The Declaration has been signed by hundreds of children in the UK, as well Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, and other world leaders.

An Education Pack created by Ensemble and the Anne Frank Trust will be freely available online.

'Landscape' image from a Souvenir d'Anne Frank collaborative painting workshop.

'Landscape' image from a Souvenir d'Anne Frank collaborative painting workshop.

Feedback from a workshop participant

“We started very simply in a circle focusing on our breathing, then the breathing of the whole group, trying to see if we could fall into sync and breathe as one. We moved on to make sounds... all we had to do was create a sound as a group and we picked up sounds from each other and slowly changed them. Then, we listened to the song 'Farewell' from Souvenir d'Anne Frank. It made me think of my mother... we began to paint. I was surprised by the range of emotions I was feeling. I began to respond with different colours and ideas in relation to what I was seeing and feeling...

Colour and dynamics started to appear in front of me, this was very satisfying to stand back and look at. From this we were each asked to find a word... Our experiences were expressed through this list of seemingly unconnected words, which actually flowed... To finish Elizabeth sang 'Farewell' again, and I felt I had gone through a journey that left me inspired...

I feel this work is very important as it encourages you to respond to other people's work through breath, sound, music, art, colour, words and personal experience, in a trusting and creative space.”

Keiron Craven-Grew

History of the project:

'Development sessions' for Souvenir d'Anne Frank were held at the Farnham Maltings, during July and August 2009, funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Spelthorne Borough Council, and Ensemble. We explored the interplay of live music, text, song, movement, light and moving imagery, to create an original theatre language.

The development period was highly experimental, and tested the relationship of the performance of music with text, movement and image. Using a Brechtian 'Epic Theatre' form, documentary was interwoven with metaphor, and a poetic sense of memory, time and space. Musical pathways and arcs were drawn with Noh and Kabuki techniques. We told the fascinating stories of Mr Yamamuro and the 'Souvenir d'Anne Frank' rose, Anne's own story in her words, and the stories of her rescuer Miep Gies, and of her father, Otto.

Audience feedback from the presentation of development work

“Congratulations on this piece... I have seen many Anne Frank inspired productions but this was something different and special. It was also an extremely enlightening feedback session. Great to hear a genuine and honest response from members of the audience really understanding why Anne's story should still be told...really getting its relevance to here and now. It was also pleasing to hear their praise for an excellent piece of work. The Brechtian influence was inspired and the music is tremendous...

This is such a timely piece. We (The Anne Frank Trust UK) have been searching for a creative piece to get behind for many years...the right piece just hasn't materialised but that has changed with this. ”

Jamie Arden: National Programmes Manager, The Anne Frank Trust UK

“Wow... it was amazing! The music was cool and the stories made me feel loads of different things. I never saw something like this before.”

Dominic Levitt: Student (16)

“...The whole thing was very powerful and emotional and I thought the theatrical style enhanced the music, which is wonderful...”

Rina Rosselson: Retired person

“...The tenderness with which Miep regards Anne is so moving; as if in some way by holding this precious child in her consciousness she could save her. As an audience we know what fate has in store for Anne, but she doesn't. Her diary, although specific to the situation she is in, also reflects the universal hopes and dreams of any young girl, at any time in history on the brink of womanhood. The play must surely resonate with all young girls who have their “annex”, a private place within which they dream their life to come.”

Pauline Hodson: Psychotherapist

A word from Buddy Elias

“I am deeply impressed by Ensemble's Souvenir d'Anne Frank project. It is in my opinion not only an educational production of high value to young people, but an amazingly fascinating theatrical and musical event, that I will never forget. The collaborative painting workshop is another addition to this project, which will surely influence everyone attending it in a most humanistic way in the ideals of my cousin Anne Frank. I wish Souvenir d'Anne Frank all the success it deserves.”

Buddy Elias
Präsident ANNE FRANK-Fonds
Steinengraben 18, CH-4051 Basel

  • An
  • Production

Souvenir d'Anne Frank is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Spelthorne Borough Council, the Anne Frank Fonds, and our project partners the Anne Frank Trust UK, Zion Arts Centre and York Theatre Royal.

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  • Spelthorne
  • Anne Frank Trust UK
  • Zion Arts Centre
  • York Theatre
Education packs and workshops
The Uninvited
The Uninvited

Songs and Stories of Exile

The Uninvited is available to book for performances and is offered to schools and colleges, alongside practical workshops on ‘The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht’. The Uninvited can also be used in relation to ‘Citizenship’ on the National Curriculum.

The Greatest Drummer in the World
The Greatest Drummer
in the World

Fun workshops, storytelling, drumming rhythms and singing.

A Cloud in Trousers
A Cloud in Trousers

A play by Steve Trafford about the Russian Futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, and his relationships with Lili and Osip Brik.