Harrowing story of Nazi persecution is told through the eyes of a child

The cast of Kindertransport, being staged by Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, is, from the left, back, Rosa Alexander, Hannah Stow, Ben Burgin and  Sarah Robinson and, front, Gilly Walker and Collette McNulty
The cast of Kindertransport, being staged by Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, is, from the left, back, Rosa Alexander, Hannah Stow, Ben Burgin and Sarah Robinson and, front, Gilly Walker and Collette McNulty

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre’s autumn production is Kindertransport, which tells the story of life in 1938, when the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews was increasing.

Spared the horrors of the death camps, these children had to quickly adjust to merging with new families and a different culture.

Author Diane Samuels has written a beautiful and moving play about one such child, nine-year-old Eva, showing the terrible pressures on her and her actual and adoptive parents as she grows into being a young woman and begins to deny her Jewish roots.

It’s a challenging role for Colette McNulty, who is graduating from the Little Theatre Youth Group to make her debut with the seniors.

Colette produced what was described by Courier reviewer Derek Greenwood as an “astonishing” performance when she took a leading role in a production of The Secret Garden at Square Chapel, Halifax, last year.

In Hebden Bridge Little Theatre’s forthcoming production, mother and daughter team Sarah Robinson and Rosa Alexander find themselves in the novel situation of playing opposite each other in the same roles in the play.

Gilly Walker plays the English stepmother who takes Eva into her family and Hannah Stow is her original Jewish/German mother.

Ben Burgin has been asked to multi-task in taking on a wide variety of parts including the mythical sinister rat-catcher, a Nazi officer and a jaunty English postman.

Director Jenny Gore says: “It’s a powerful and poignant play, highlighting the awful dilemmas that wartime throws up and the impact it has on family relationships.”

It runs from Monday, October 7 to Saturday, October 12 at Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, Holme Street, Hebden Bridge, starting at 7.30pm with an additional matinee on the Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are available at Innovation, Hebden Bridge, or by calling 01422 843907.

Husband-and-wife actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales watched a rehearsal of the play as they were filming on the Rochdale Canal for a Channel 4 TV show.

The couple, accompanied by their actor son Sam, enjoyed tea with the company and chatted to Colette.