Kindness: A Legacy of the Holocaust

A few months ago I started working as a researcher, stage manager and understudy on putting on an educational play about the Holocaust based on the story of the survivor Susan Pollock MBE.

Susan has most kindly invited us to her home, generously shared her story and answered all our questions. I feel I have learned so much and feel like the words “kindness” and “resilience” have gained a whole different meaning. Her energy and will to live are truly inspiring! 

Susan was born in Hungary from where she was transported to Auschwitz - Birkenau. She was separated from her family, subjected to work at an electrical factory and walk the death march to Bergen Belsen where she was later liberated. This is a difficult post for me to write as the harrowing details of her account are fresh in my mind. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to live with this story having been through it.

“Kindness: the Legacy of the Holocaust” is a largely verbatim play documenting Susan’s story commissioned by the Voices of the Holocaust, an educational theatre company supported by the European Jewish Congress. 

The play premiered this week at Harrow Arts Centre coinciding with the Holocaust Memorial Day taking place the following day. The premiere was well received and attended.  It has been an incredible and overwhelming day. I’m delighted how many people came to see and hear the story of this remarkable woman. I am very grateful to be part of the company that made Susan’s story come alive through theatre and memorialised it for future generations.

After the show, I was honoured to host a discussion and Q&A about this very special project with Susan Pollock herself, Cate Hollis the founder & artistic director of Voices of the Holocaust and co-author of “Kindness” and Mark Wheeller co-author and one of Britain’s most performed playwrights.

“Kindness” will now tour around schools in the UK as part of an educational project educating young people about the Holocaust. It will be accompanied by the  “Mitzvah / Acts of Kindness Project” to help young people reflect on the ideas contained in the play and as a way of creating a positive commitment to counter the troubling realities that we face in our contemporary society.

Casting Bridge by RFW and Golden Unicorn Awards

I was delighted to be selected to be part of the Casting Bridge Forum hosted by Russian Film Week. The purpose of the projects is to facilitate professional relationships between actors, agents producers and casting directors from the UK, the EU and the Russian Federation. It was a truly cross cultural event with participants travelling from various parts of the world to meet in London.

Throughout the packed two day programme we had the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about the industry and get some insights for exciting things to come. 

I have also really enjoyed watching Russian movies which were part of the Russian Film Week programme. I particularly enjoyed The Three directed by Anna Melikyan and a short Promises by Lana Vlady which won an award at the Golden Unicorn Awards ceremony, which was a fabulous evening and an epic end to what has been a beautiful week of Russian cinema. 

Anya Zraykat is taking part in Casting Bridge Forum by Russian Film Week

The Russian Film Week in London is officially open and the 2021 edition has a fantastic lineup of films, which I cannot wait to see on a big screen. As part of the festival, the Russian Film Week runs the Casting Bridge Forum - an initiative to unite Russian speaking acting talents with international casting professionals. I have been delighted to be selected to participate in this year’s forum and am looking forward to meeting and having bountiful discussions with talented actors and professionals. This will be my first time meeting the Casting Bridge community and I am very much looking forward to discovering more about their work.

Raindance Film Festival Trailer

Raindance Film Festival has finally released its 2021 festival trailer and it looks amazing. Thanks to Elliot Grove, the founder of the festival who has given me a chance to be part of it. It was a very efficient shoot and I have made friends on set and just love watching the finished product.  Always a joy to participate in the magic of movie-making!

Now I am looking forward to visiting the actual festival next month and watching movies in the cinema. It has been a while! 

Raindance Film Festival 2021 will run from 27th October until 6th November and the tickets will be out later this month. 

You can see the trailer here:

Photo London with David Bailey and Tyler Shields

Photo London returned to Somerset House this year after a long break due to the pandemic. Photography remains one of my favourite artistic media. Since Photo London’s inception, I have not missed a single art fair and it was a delight not only to be back but also to work with photographers David Bailey and Tyler Shields.

David Bailey and Tyler Shields have each presented their work in a room in one of the wings in Somerset House. Both rooms were curated by Imitate Modern and I have assisted them in the exhibition management and sales at the fair.

On the opening night, David Bailey himself was present at the event and the gallery was visited by guests like Kate Moss as well as many other friends of the photographer. The works on display were some of the most iconic portraits such as Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, The Beatles and Michael Caine along with some other classic Bailey shots from the previous decades.

A portrait of Jean Shrimpton with artful make-up by David Hockney was one of the most popular works at the fair and one of my absolute favourites - a beautiful collaboration between two living legends.


David Bailey, Anya Zraykat, Jacqui Brantjes of Imitate Modern gallery

This outfit really matched the artworks and catalogues by Tyler Shields. This wasn’t planned, but was a happy coincidence.

Jean Shrimpton with David Hockney face paint photographed by David Bailey

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