Holocaust Memory and Youth Performance

Erika Hughes (University of Portsmouth, UK)

Holocaust Memory and Youth Performance
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
United Kingdom
14 December 2023

Holocaust Memory and Youth Performance

Erika Hughes (University of Portsmouth, UK)

Societies continue to struggle with the terrible legacy of the holocaust, but many of them cope through a wide range of performative cultural responses. A canon of more than 750 known plays, musicals, archival adaptations, ceremonies, interactive exhibits, and concerts reflect the manifold ideas of what the Holocaust was, who it affected and how it should be remembered by us all. In many of these works, youth is a key category of importance.

Holocaust Memory and Youth Performance is the first critical examination of youth-focused plays and performances about the Holocaust. It considers works that are written by young authors as well as pieces taken from the diaries and memoirs of those who experienced the Holocaust as children or adolescents. While youth-focused plays about the Holocaust have been in the repertories of top professional companies throughout the world for decades and continue to be performed in theatres, schools and community centers, they are often neglected in concentrated and comparative studies of Holocaust theatre. Erika Hughes fills this gap by examining plays, including The Diary of Ann Frank and Today You are Called Sara, musicals, performances, scripts, performative museum installations and pedagogically-focused works of applied theatre for young audiences that tell the stories of young people who experienced the Holocaust. Adopting Hannah Arendt’s notion of natality as a powerful framework, this study examines the ways in which youth-theatre performances make a vital contribution to intergenerational witnessing and the collective memory of the Holocaust.

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