Headgate Theatre Productions

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2019 programme

The Diary of Anne Frank

Roles and Audition Notes

About Headgate Theatre Productions

Headgate Theatre Productions was established to ensure that the theatre's programme included a wide range of drama productions alongside those produced by our hirers, as well as a means of generating further revenue to help run the building. It is rightly proud of its growing reputation, reflected in positive audience feedback, the extensive nominations and awards received each year from the local press critic and the North Essex Theatre Guild, and the fact that our actors and creative team have fun in putting on a range of challenging and interesting drama. "Grow Up Grandad" was awarded Best Drama Production 2017-18 by North Essex Theatre Guild, whilst in the Evening Gazette "Paulies" awards, Kel Ashton was awarded Best Actress for her role in "Be My Baby", and two of our stage managers builders (Stephen Peeling and Phil Ager) received a special award for set design and build.

Headgate Theatre Productions welcome expressions of interest from new and experienced directors, or those who might volunteer for technical support (lighting, sound, stage management). Further information can be found below.

Headgate Theatre Productions Presents

The Diary of Anne Frank

Dramatized by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
Director: Kerry King. kerrykingma@yahoo.co.uk or 07876 500760

Read Through (specific scenes) and Auditions:
Tuesday 26th and Thursday 28th November at 7.30pm at the Headgate Theatre, Colchester.

Rehearsals will start in January (days and times to be confirmed)

Production week commencing Sunday 29th March

Performances: Wednesday 1st to Saturday 4th April 2020 (including a Saturday matinée)

This is an amateur production

The Story:

It takes place in Amsterdam in 1942 during the Nazi’s occupation of that country. Two Jewish families, the Franks and the Van Daans, are forced to take refuge in a small, two-room hiding place behind a faux bookshelf in a business owned by Otto Frank. Mrs. Frank, Mr. Van Dann, his wife, their son Peter, Anne and her sister Margot not only endure the terrible discomforts of living in such limited confines but must also keep quiet during the day for fear of being detected.

Good or bad news from the outside, food rations, and a few amenities are brought in by two friends of Otto’s, Mr. Kraler , and Miep. The Franks and Van Daans are later joined by a Jewish dentist, Mr. Dussell. The ordeal is not without its lighter moments, but there are also many moments of crushing despair, heated bickering, tears and rage as their fears mount and time trudges on.

Amsterdam is a city made of about 90 small, floating islands held together by more than a thousand bridges. For years, massive polders have held those islands aloft, which is why you can view all aspects of the city from the point of a view of a canal. The family hiding place was in a house on Prinsengracht, meaning Prince’s Canal, its front door just a few yards from the water’s edge. If you go, you’ll notice there are seagulls everywhere.

The Parts, with indicative playing ages

Anne Frank - Young teenage girl. The author of the diary. Anne was born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, and was four years old when her father moved to Holland to find a better place for the family to live. She is very intelligent and perceptive, and she wants to become a writer. Anne grows from an innocent, tempestuous, precocious, and somewhat petty teenage girl to an empathetic and sensitive thinker at age fifteen. Anne dies of typhus in the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in late February or early March of 1945.

Margot Frank - 17ish (can be older but looks young!) Anne’s older sister. Margot was born in Frankfurt in 1926. She receives little attention in Anne’s diary, and Anne does not provide a real sense of Margot’s character. Anne thinks that Margot is pretty, smart, emotional, and everyone’s favourite. However, Anne and Margot do not form a close bond, and Margot mainly appears in the diary when she is the cause of jealousy or anger. She dies of typhus in the concentration camp a few days before Anne does.

Otto Frank - 50/60s. Anne’s father. Otto is practical and kind, and Anne feels a particular kinship to him. He was born on May 12, 1889, into a wealthy Frankfurt family, but the family’s international-banking business collapsed during the German economic depression that followed World War I. After the Nazis came to power in Germany, Otto moved to Amsterdam in 1933 to protect his family from persecution. There he made a living selling chemical products and provisions until the family was forced into hiding in 1942. Otto is the only member of the family to survive the war, and he lives until 1980.

Edith Frank - 40/50ish. Anne’s mother. Edith Hollander was originally from Aachen, Germany, and she married Otto in 1925. Anne feels little closeness or sympathy with her mother, and the two have a very tumultuous relationship. Anne thinks her mother is too sentimental and critical. Edith dies of hunger and exhaustion in the concentration camp at Auschwitz in January 1945.

Mr. Van Daan - 50/60s. The father of the family that hides in the annex along with the Franks and who had worked with Otto Frank as an herbal specialist in Amsterdam. Mr. Van Daan’s actual name is Hermann van Pels, but Anne calls him Mr. van Daan in the diary. According to Anne, he is intelligent, opinionated, pragmatic, and somewhat egotistical. Mr. van Daan is temperamental, speaks his mind openly, and is not afraid to cause friction, especially with his wife, with whom he fights frequently and openly. He dies in the gas chambers at Auschwitz in October or November of 1944.

Mrs. Van Daan - 40/60s Mr. Van Daan's wife. Her actual name is Auguste van Pels, but Anne calls her Petronella van Daan in her diary. Anne initially describes Mrs. Van Daan as a friendly, teasing woman, but later calls her an instigator. She is a fatalist and can be petty, egotistical, flirtatious, stingy, and disagreeable. Mrs. Van Daan frequently complains about the family’s situation—criticism that Anne does not admire or respect. Mrs. Van Daan does not survive the war, but the exact date of her death is unknown.

Peter Van Daan - 16. The teenage son of the Van Daan's, whose real name is Peter Van Pels. Anne first sees Peter as obnoxious, lazy, and hypersensitive, but later they become close friends. Peter is quiet, timid, honest, and sweet to Anne, but he does not share her strong convictions. During their time in the annex, Anne and Peter develop a romantic attraction, which Mr. Frank discourages. Peter is Anne’s first kiss, and he is her one confidant and source of affection and attention in the annex. Peter dies on May 5, 1945, at the concentration camp at Mauthausen, only three days before the camp was liberated.

Albert Dussel - 50/60ish. A dentist and an acquaintance of the Franks who hides with them in the annex. His real name is Fritz Pfeffer, but Anne calls him Mr. Dussel in the diary. Anne finds Mr. Dussel particularly difficult to deal with because he shares a room with her, and she suffers the brunt of his odd personal hygiene habits, pedantic lectures, and controlling tendencies. Mr. Dussel’s wife is a Christian, so she does not go into hiding, and he is separated from her. He dies on December 20, 1944, at the Neuengamme concentration camp.

Mr. Kraler/Kugler. A man who helps hide the Franks in the annex. Victor Kugler is arrested along with Kleiman in 1944 but escapes in 1945. He immigrates to Canada in 1955 and dies in Toronto in 1981. Mr. Kugler is also referred to as Mr. Kraler.

Miep Gies - 30s. A secretary at Otto’s office who helps the Franks hide. After the Franks are arrested, she stows the diary away in a desk drawer and keeps it there, unread, until Otto’s return in 1945. She died in 2010 at the age of 100.

For any queries or further information, please contact the director:
Kerry King
via kerrykingma@yahoo.co.uk or 07876 500760

Directing for Headgate Theatre Productions

We welcome expressions of interest from new and experienced directors. Our programme of plays is usually developed from May - October of each year.

We put on a pantomime each year, and then aim for 4 or 5 other drama productions. Ideally these should help to fill gaps in the year when other groups are not performing, but inevitably the availability of directors influences our programme. We would look to have an annual programme which included a “classic” play, a play with “popular” appeal, a challenging or topical play, and possibly a play with appeal to a specific audience segment (including any text from school syllabus selections). However, the over-riding requirement is that we maintain excellence in our production values and deliver top quality productions to be enjoyed by our patrons– whether that be a well-known piece or something new.

Following consideration of proposals by a small sub-committee, directors are allocated a “champion” to ensure that there is good communication, a budget is developed (over which the director exercises significant control) a rehearsal programme is agreed, and technical support is identified.

Technical support for Headgate Theatre Productions

The technical support for Headgate Theatre Productions is drawn from our team of volunteers, and we always welcome new people with an interest or skills in lighting, sound, scenic design/painting , costume making or stage management (including making or sourcing props).


To express an interest or find out more about directing or providing technical support for Headgate Theatre Productions, please contact David or Dawn King on 01206 530257 or email dawn66king@gmail.com


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