This year brings the 80th anniversary of Kindertransport, an organised rescue effort that took place prior to the start of World War II which saw thousands of predominantly Jewish children transported from Germany and Austria to safety. The UK took in almost 10,000 children who were placed in British foster homes, hostels, farms and schools.These children were very often the only members of their family to survive the Holocaust.
Diane Samuels’ play, Kindertransport was inspired by the experiences of these children and depicts the life, during and following the Second World War, of a Kindertransport child. This year this deeply moving, modern classic celebrates 25 years since it was first performed and is embarking on a new tour to mark the occasion.
It’s Hamburg in 1938 and nine-year-old Eva Schlesinger is being forced onto a train by her mother in a desperate bid to escape the threat of World War II and receive safe passage into the UK. Arriving into Liverpool Street Station, she is tagged like a piece of luggage, before she is handed over to complete strangers.
Fast forward to Manchester in 1980 as proud mother Evelyn prepares to bid farewell to her daughter Faith who is leaving the family home. But what Faith discovers in the attic changes the course of her life forever.
The cast of actors, who hail from all over Europe, include the Olivier Award-winning Suzan Sylvester who returns to play the role of mother Evelyn having performed as daughter Faith in the original 1993 production of Kindertransport.
Since its first performance in 1993, Kindertransport has firmly established itself as a modern classic and is often taught in schools as a set text. Staged in Manchester’s classical-style Opera House, and telling the fascinating, though harrowing, story of the evacuation of Jewish children to England – this is a limited opportunity to catch the anniversary tour of this unforgettable and moving play.