Terezin Project

Type: Performance, Workshop
Art Form: Theater
Grade Level: 7 - 12

For 50 years Terezin: Children of the Holocaust, written and directed by local playwright Anna Smulowitz,  has been performed live, as a stage play, for schools and audiences locally and around the world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, live productions of the stage play had to be paused indefinitely as theaters closed or faced restrictions and schools reverted to hybrid and remote formats. With the backdrop of headlines about the pandemic, global protests for racial and social justice, and the rise of discriminatory acts and hate speech, a group of local students decided the message of Terezin could not go silent at such a critical time.

The Terezin: Children of the Holocaust digital video production is directed and acted by students who have performed the stage version for many years. A professionally shot film with multiple camera angles brings the play to life compellingly on screen. The performance is bookended by an introduction from the playwright and a post-show discussion with the cast. 

The Company
Olivia Colden, Newbury, Age 17 (Actor – Role of Celia Langer)
Ava Laroche, Boxford, Age 17 (Actor – Role of Corinna Senders)
Katie Lowell, Georgetown, Age 21 (Co-Director, Role of Miriam Fisher)
Jessie Rosenthal, Newburyport, Age 16 (Actor – Role of Rachel Langer)
Andrew Valianti, Newbury, Age 18 (Producer, Co-Director, Actor – Role of Aaron Shapiro)
Ava Valianti, Newbury, Age 11 (Actor – Role of Leah Poutreau)

Upon arrival in Newburyport in 1979, Anna founded the Newburyport Children's Theatre, now known as Theatre in the Open. Over the past 33 years, she has worked with most of the city's local theater and dance companies.

Anna has acted in, directed or produced over 150 shows in Newburyport, and developed three major summer arts programs, each of which is currently active in the community. Anna now collaborates with former students and colleagues in developing and producing new plays at the Actor's Studio of Newburyport and the Firehouse Center for the Arts.

In 1994 Anna was given the Model People award by the Timberland Corporation for her work on the play Terezin, and in 1996, she received the Mayor's award for the Arts for the same show. This award-winning play was recently performed to rave reviews at the Edinburgh film festival and has been invited for a return performance in Germany. Smulowitz Productions brought Terezin: Children of the Holocaust to New York City, off-off-Broadway, in 2012.

Programs Offered

A girl and a boy, faintly smiling, wearing yellow stars proclaiming them as Jews on their sweaters, sit side-by-side in the cell of a concentration camp.