Sussex theatre company, Ariel Company Theatre has been assembling a talent cast of youngsters to perform a brand new play ‘The Edelweiss Pirates’ by Ayub Kahn Din as part of the National Theatre Connections Festival.
Following a detailed application process, Ariel was selected as one of the companies to participate in this highly regarded national festival. The event has been created specifically for young people across the UK and Ireland to provide challenging new plays for aspiring actors aged 13 – 19 years.
Connections gives young people the experience of professional theatre-making to mirror that of a professional company producing a new play. Ariel students will have to create marketing campaigns, design sets and costumes, operate lighting and sound boards and stage-manage their performances.
Ariel were lucky to be able to secure their first choice in terms of the new plays and will be performing Ayub Khan Din’s play, The Edelweiss Pirates which is set in 1942 Germany during the Second World War. Ayub Khan Din is an actor and playwright, best known for writing the play East is East which was nominated for an Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, the play was then made into a film and went on to enjoy considerable success.
A little known but fascinating story, The Edelweiss Pirates takes place during the Second World War. All internal opposition has been viciously silenced and the population follow blindly behind Hitler and his policies of war and domination. Though the majority of young Germans have been brainwashed by Nazi party policies, others are becoming disgruntled by the lack of basic freedom, tired of every aspects of their lives being dictated by the state.
Around Germany, small groups of youths form themselves into societies. Some just to listen and dance to banned music and to be with like-minded teenagers. Others are becoming more aware that it is they, the youth of the country, who have to start resisting the Nazis. One such group are The Edelweiss Pirates of Cologne. The group have found the courage to say no and try to keep their Jewish friends safe from the authorities, even though they may have to pay a terrible price for their convictions.
Director Neil Hopson said ‘This is a particularly interesting story and I am delighted to be working with a great cast of over 28young people, drawn from our five Sussex academies.
As 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the timing is very apt. The play explores how some young Germans attempted to resist Hitler’s indoctrination. The play is based on a true story and we hope that as many people as possible will come and see the show to support the cast and learn more about this time in history’.
The Edelweiss Pirates will be performed on the 5th May at the Capitol Horsham. www.ariel.ticketsource.co.uk