Art and history teachers at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic High School in Newport have stepped up to help pupil Niamh Jones in her performance of Anne Frank for Newport Playgoers Society.
“I told my history teacher, Mr Seymour, that I was excited to be performing the role and he asked if school could help with anything for the play,”
“I study World War II in history so I am very honoured to be playing Anne. My director, Adele Cordner, asked if school could produce some Nazi propaganda posters for a foyer display to set the historical context.
“When I asked my teachers for help with this, they also offered to make all the yellow stars for the production. We need a lot as one has to be sewn onto every layer of clothing. The Franks went into hiding wearing lots of layers as they couldn’t be seen carrying suitcases through the streets of Amsterdam.”
Sharon Carey, D&T, Food and Textiles teacher, who has worked at the school for over 30 years, says she was honoured to help with the production. Sharon commented:
“I visited several war memorial museums in France last year and saw the yellow stars so I knew exactly what they looked like,”
“It was very emotive to look at all of the Jewish memorabilia laid out – clothes, cards, glasses and teeth. It’s really heartbreaking to think of how these people lost their lives.”
“We used a thick yellow canvas to make the stars and drew on them with black pen, referencing the historic accuracy of the typeface and size with the help of the history department. It’s important to make sure that they are as close to the original as we can get.”
Sara Morris, Head of Art, and Claire Stephens, Technical Assistant in the art department, both researched the historic propaganda posters before they produced them. Sara says:
“We took the advice of the history department to make sure that the posters are accurate for the period and we stained them with tea and blowtorched the edges to age them,” says Sara. “I think we almost set off the school fire alarms!”
“Some of the propaganda used in the posters is really disturbing and frightening,” says Sharon. “I’ve watched films like The Book Thief and Woman in Gold and seen these posters in Prague Jewish Museum. It’s a horrific period of history, but we need to remember it.”
All the teachers are looking forward to seeing Niamh perform the famous role. “It has been a pleasure to help with the production,”
The Diary of Anne Frank will be performed by Newport Playgoers Society at the Dolman Theatre 4th – 8th February 2020. Tickets at: http://www.dolmantheatre.co.uk .
Photo: Sara Morris, Niamh Jones and Sharon Carey (l-r) in St Joseph’s Roman Catholic High School. Picture by Paul Johnson @pixelsintime.co.uk.