Souvenir d'Anne Frank

An innovative project for 2011-2012 rooted in a new theatre work, Souvenir d'Anne Frank, with Colin Decio's 'Het Achterhuis' Piano Trio at its heart, inspired by Anne Frank, Mr Yamamuro and the story of a rose.
Souvenir d'Anne Frank

Video stills by Richard Aylwin, from the 'Sharing of the work' presentation of Souvenir d'Anne Frank, Farnham Maltings, August 2009

Souvenir d'Anne Frank - an Ensemble Production
  • Colin Decio composer and pianist
  • Catalin Chelaru Violin
  • Philip Handy Cello
  • Elizabeth Mansfield writer and performer
  • Azusa Ono performer
  • Richard Aylwin visual artist
  • Nao Nagai lighting
  • Steve Trafford director and dramaturg

Years after the war, Otto Frank, Anne's father, sent a rose named the 'Souvenir d'Anne Frank' to Japan. First nurtured there by Mr Yamamuro, it now blossoms and grows in the gardens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and every Japanese city. Cultivated by children – a symbol of peace and reconciliation.

In Souvenir d'Anne Frank a young Japanese girl finds herself drawn deep into a landscape of dreams and memories as she shares the beautiful story of the Souvenir d'Anne Frank rose. The haunting songs and music of Colin Decio’s richly evocative ‘Piano Trio for Anne Frank’ (piano, violin and cello), performed live, weave through this fresh new work. And the stories of Anne, told in her own words, of her father Otto, and of Miep Gies, their Dutch helper, move and inspire, bringing West and East together in a unique and fascinating music and theatre fusion.

Souvenir d'Anne Frank will premiere at Zion Arts Centre, Manchester, on Holocaust Memorial Day (27.01.2012). The Anne Frank Trust’s exhibition Anne Frank – a History for Today will be presented alongside performances, together with a complimentary exhibition created with Manchester’s Women Asylum Seekers Together and an outreach workshop programme for schools, colleges and communities.

Souvenir d'Anne Frank will tour nationally between February and April 2012, to the Darlington Arts Centre; Brooklands College Ashford Campus, Spelthorne; Burnley Youth Theatre; New Wolsey, Ipswich; York Theatre Royal; Greenwich Theatre, London; and the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton.

Mr Yamamuro's son, Kenji Yamamuro, has sent us ‘Souvenir d'Anne Frank’ rose bushes from Ayabe in Japan, grafted from the original roses sent there by Otto Frank in 1972. These roses, planted in each community the project visits, will be a living reminder of Anne's story - of her love for nature and her longing for a tolerant, conflict-free world.

Her life warns us about the dangers of intolerance...
Wars, now more than ever before, claim the lives of the young...
We all have a moral and spiritual obligation
to keep our world safe for the generations to come...

Anne Frank Declaration for the New Millennium

Souvenir d'Anne Frank
Performances in 2012
  • Saturday 21st January at 7.30pm (Preview)
  • Friday 27th January at 7.30pm
  • Saturday 28th January at 7.30pm
  • Zion Arts Centre
  • Zion Arts Centre, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester, M15 5ZA
  • Box Office: 0161 232 6089
  • Friday 3rd February at 1pm
  • Saturday 4 February at 7.30pm
  • Zion Arts Centre
  • Zion Arts Centre, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester, M15 5ZA
  • Box Office: 0161 232 6089
  • Thursday 23rd February at 8pm
  • Friday 24th February at 8pm
  • Darlington Arts Centre
  • Darlington Arts Centre, Vane Terrace, Darlington, DL3 7AX
  • Box Office: 01325 486555
  • Thursday 1st March at 7.30
  • Friday 2nd March at 2.30 and 7.30pm
  • Saturday 3rd March at 2.30 and 7.30pm
  • Ashford Campus Performance Hall
  • Brooklands College, Ashford Campus Performance Hall, Church Street, Ashford TW15 2XD
  • Box Office: 01483 444789 Option 1
    Tickets also available at Brooklands College, Ashford Campus Reception
  • Friday 9th March at 1pm and 7.30pm
  • Burnley Youth Theatre
  • Burnley Youth Theatre, Queens Park Road, Burnley, BB10 3LB
  • Box Office: 01282 427 767
  • Wednesday 21st March at 7.45pm
  • Thursday 22nd March at 7.45pm
  • New Wolsey Theatre
  • New Wolsey Theatre, Civic Drive, Ipswich, IP1 2AS
  • Box Office: 01473 295 900
  • Friday 30th March at 7.30pm
  • Saturday 31st March at 7.30pm
  • York Theatre Royal
  • York Theatre Royal, St Leonard's Place, York, YO1 7HD
  • Box Office: 01904 623568
  • Friday 6th April at 7.30pm
  • Saturday 7th April at 7.30pm
  • Greenwich Theatre
  • Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, London, SE10 8ES
  • Box Office: 020 8858 7755
  • Thursday 19th April at 7.30pm
  • Friday 20th April at 7.30pm
  • Nuffield Theatre
  • Nuffield Theatre, University Road, Southampton, SO17 1TR
  • Box Office: 020 8858 7755

Education Pack

An Education Pack to accompany Souvenir d'Anne Frank is available to download here.

Outreach Programme

Unique creative workshops – in which, a presentation of the Anne Frank Trust’s film, The Short Life of Anne Frank will be the stimulus for Ensemble’s Painting Lifelines theatre devising workshop.

For community groups, including refugee groups, and for students at Key Stages 4 and 5. GCSE: Drama; AS & A level: Theatre Studies; BTEC First Diploma Performing Arts; Citizenship.

A marvellous opportunity for 20 participants to enjoy a creative workshop, offering powerful, documentary film footage as a touchstone for participants’ own creative responses to Anne Frank’s story.

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

Image from a 'visual score'

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

Responding to the film, through song, story and music, participants will create a collective ‘visual score’. A map of shared expression, painted together on a giant canvas, evoking new arrangements of ideas, words, images and sounds, out from which they will make three dimensional pieces of theatre.

The day will deliver a rich and informative experience, building participants’ confidence, awareness and theatre technique, and developing their collaborative, theatre devising skills, within a Brechtian perspective. The work created – visual scores, poems, stories - will be theirs to share and own.

The workshops will compliment and enrich participants’ enjoyment of seeing a performance of Souvenir d'Anne Frank, empowering them to participate in the post show discussion.


A student participates in a workshop at Zion Arts Centre

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, especially young people, really understanding why Anne's story should still be told...really getting it's 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

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

Rina Rosselson: Aged 76

“...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

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

  • ace_logo
  • Spelthorne
  • Anne Frank Trust UK
  • Zion Arts Centre
  • York Theatre
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