"A storyteller can attempt to tell the human tale, can remind us that the swallows still sing around the smokestacks" Jane Yolen.
A beautiful and symbolic representation of a storytelling experience that cannot be replicated. An early start to understanding the Holocaust, connecting to young peoples lives through voice recording and visual storytelling. For ages 9 and above.
In 2016 I created Singing Swallows as part of my Honours inquiry (Bachelor of Perfoming Arts) at Monash University.
As a young Jewish theatremaker I always knew that I needed to use my skills to create something about the Holocaust, and in 2016 I committed to finding out what that 'something' could look like.
Pictured above is my grandfather Raymond Kupfer and I looking through his old photos and albums that his family brought with them to Australia when they immigrated after World War 2.
Singing Swallows is about connecting young people with those who went through the Holocaust. The performance explores what life was like for a young person during this time and how much they might've understood that their communities, identity and lives were at risk.
This show tries to spark the imaginations of the young audience through technology and physical performance.
I made Singing Swallows to be a starting point of Holocaust education, to connect young people with the messages from our Holocaust survivors, messages of love, peace, acceptance, strength. So that when they do engage with Holocaust education, they feel connected to the stories and have empathy and interest to what happened.
I feel eternally grateful to the four Holocaust survivors who spoke to me and shared with me what you experience in Singing Swallows but also the horrific details that I could not include. I hope the intimacy in the show does create an experience that is similar to a survivor sharing their experience. Of course it could never replace this, but at least for future generations it may carry a small aspect of that incredible storytelling experience that has been gifted to us.
We will not forget.
Photos by Pia Johnson