Making their voices heard on world stage

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A Milton Keynes theatre project set up by a former city teacher is to perform at Holocaust Memorial Day – in front of the European Parliament.

The unfunded voluntary group called Voices of the Holocaust will take centre stage before world leaders and dignitaries in Brussels on January 27.

It will be a year to the day since they launched their first production at Willen’s Chrysalis Theatre.

Founder Cate Hibbert gave up her job as head of drama at Stantonbury Campus to follow her dream of using theatre to bring alive authentic memories from Holocaust survivors.

Using her dad’s money as collateral, she gathered a three-man team to research hundreds of harrowing stories and convert them into plays to perform at theatres and schools all over the city.

The first-ever production, ‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’ was the one to catch the eye of the European Parliament.

Said Cate: “It is emotionally overwhelming to think that we only premiered our first production on Holocaust Memorial Day 2013 and now we have the biggest stage we could wish for.

“It is such an honour for a new, unfunded theatre company, staffed by volunteers and young actors who have freely given their time and talents.”

This week, as well as rehearsing for Brussels, Cate and her team are putting the finishing touches to another production called Under the Apple Tree, which debuts at the Chrysalis Theatre on Tuesday, January 28.

It tells the true story of social worker Irena Sendler, who rescued more than 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis in World War Two.

In a bid to keep to keep their identities safe, she wrote down all the children’s names and buried the papers in glass jars under an apple tree in Warsaw.

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