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Kindertransport - Mar 2012

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March 2012 - Kindertransport poster
Written by Diane Samuels

Directed by Helen Caston

Cast List (in order of appearance)

Emma Kinney
Helga (Eva/Evelyn's mother)
Jo Godman
Heidi Garwood
Faith (Evelyn's daughter)
Charlotte Caston
Lil (Eva's foster mother)
Kathy West
The Ratcatcher/Border Official/Organiser/
Pat Sanders
Postman/Railway Guard

Stage Manager
Neil Thorne
Lights and Sound
Steve Hewlett
Carly Caller
Melody Harbour

This production was our first entry into the Kent Drama Association's Full-Length Play Festival and received the following award:

  • Best New Festival Director - Helen Caston

It was also nominated in the following categories:

  • Best Sound - Steve Hewlett
  • Best Technical Achievement
  • Best Young Player - Emma Kinney

In November 1938, after nights of violence against Jews across Germany and Austria, the British government introduced a program called the Kindertransport (children’s transport), which gave Jewish children safe passage to the UK.
This is the poignant story of 7-year old Eva Schlesinger who was put aboard a train with other Jewish children and evacuated from Nazi Germany to be spared the horrors of the death camps. But they were uprooted, separated from their parents and transported to a different culture where they faced a mixture of kindness, indifference, occasional exploitation, and the selflessness of ordinary people faced with needy children.

As pre-show publicity, the director, Helen Caston, went to BBC Radio Kent and tried to trace anyone that was part of the kindertransport. After the show she received a call from John Fleetcroft whose family had taken in a young girl but, sadly, she had been buried the week before the broadcast. The following week, he called again and mentioned a friend that he had met at the funeral. Edith Bown is now 88 but travelled to Britain in 1939 with her 10-year old brother, and was delighted to come to the theatre for afternoon tea, to meet the cast, and to share her amazing and moving story with them. There were certainly some tears in the eyes of the assembled guests. Edith never heard from her parents again after leaving Germany and eventually became a nurse. Her brother, who had been told was not very intelligent, became a professor of chemistry!

We received several letters of praise for this production:

Sue Baker wrote 'A powerful and moving production. It moved me so much I was crying.'

Gordon Harris, NODA Rep. wrote 'Take an award winning play by Diane Samuels, a great set, good period costumes, spot-on props and five fabulous actresses and you have a blueprint for a successful evening of tears and laughter. Well thought out direction by Helen Caston and, most importantly, some strong performances from all the cast, but my accolade of the evening must go out to Emma Kinney who for such a young age of 14 had to cope with all the elements of acting, and sustaining in parts, having to speak German, a brilliant performance.'

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