The Production’s Blog – Anne Frank

Lorraine Biddlecombe, the Director of The Diary of Anne Frank,  and members of cast, crew and the production team kept a production blog for the show, here it is


19 thoughts on “The Production’s Blog – Anne Frank

  1. 30th December 2013

    The Diary of Anne Frank is a play I have always wanted to direct, and I think it is one which can resonate with people of all ages. This powerful play gives us the chance to explore the realities of eight people having to be in hiding for two years and the relationships between them, as seen through Anne’s eyes. Although set in traumatic times, there are scenes of fun and humour – which, of course, is the point: despite unimaginable circumstances, the strength of human spirit and hope survives.

    Lorraine Biddlecombe (Director)


  2. I’m so excited about doing the play The Diary of Anne Frank. I am playing Anne and have taken this challenge by the horns and strove for it to be the best production possible.
    As soon as I knew I had the part, which was straight after the auditions, Lorraine (director) said to me “Right we will start rehearsals straight away”. I was so thrilled. Since September I have been rehearsing alongside the other teenagers who were cast. Kat and Simon are great to work with and even though I hadn’t met Simon (Peter) before, we instantly got on and our scenes are really fun.

    I’ve never worked with adults in a play, so working with an older cast gets me in a mode where I can play a younger character better.

    My family are all joking about how this is my ‘big break’, but with all the plays and musicals I do I put the same effort in whether it’s a small part, or only 3 minutes on stage in an hour long play, or whether you are on stage the whole time. That’s my advice to all the young actors – treat each part exactly the same and do your best.

    Anne Frank the girl has shown me a different look on life and I hope this play inspires people not to take life for granted.
    April (playing Anne Frank)


  3. 6000 printed flyers for Anne Frank have now arrived from the University Print Service and the major job of spreading them far and wide across Southampton and the surrounding area begins. We have a small army of SUP members, each with their allocated distribution points that will be out and about shortly putting up flyers wherever the public congregate. Local libraries, tourist attractions, museums, restaurants, hairdressers, hotel foyers etc. It is no mean feat. We stick to the motto that if we all do a little, between us we achieve a lot.

    In two weeks time we will be having our ‘envelope stuffing’ morning, where we sit round a table like a conveyor belt, putting flyers in envelopes, sticking on stamps and writing individually to everyone on our mailing list inviting them to the show. Over recent years with the price of stamps going up, we have begun to ask people on our mailing list if they would be happy to receive details of further shows by email. This helps reduce our costs but still gets the message out. If you are reading this and you receive details from us in the post,if you would be happy to receive them by email, please let us know by contacting

    It is amazing how the price of stamps soon adds up. When we set a budget for a show, marketing is always the biggest budget area for us. With this in mind, SUP is modernising, helped by a highly experienced twitterer (is that a word?) from CITE (Centre for Innovation in Technologies and Education) , who is graciously giving of her own time, we are finding our way into the world of Twitter. Last week we promoted the event to over 2000 people in a second, I was impressed, and yes, we have a lot to learn, but we are getting there.

    Keep your eye out for our posters and if you find somewhere where they should be, but they aren’t, let me know.

    Oh,nearly forgot, if you have a twitter account, follow us at @supamdram,


  4. Having had the pleasure of being directed by Lorraine in the past I was excited for a chance to audition for a play at the Nuffield. This is the third ww2 play I’ve been in, allo allo and kinder transport being the others, both with bishopstoke players.
    The period is one I’ve always been interested in, especially the treatment of the Jews after being shown an episode of the world at war featuring the camps during an R.E. lesson at school.

    This has been an enjoyable rehearsal schedule despite the subject matter there have been laughs and lots of collaborative discussions on the best way to tell the story.

    It has been a great opportunity to meet some very talented and giving performers and I can’t wait to get to an audience.


  5. Had the photographer come in yesterday, to do head shots and some photos of the group. We had quite a fun rehearsal full of giggles. Really tired after it though. I’ve got 3 monoluges (that word. So hard to spell) left to learn! I am so excited!! Ah have you booked your tickets yet?! If not then go do that now! Go on.


  6. For the past two weeks the set for Anne Frank has been coming to life, bit by bit. My appreciation goes out to Lorraine Biddlecombe for her part in designing the annexe, whilst trying to keep it historically accurate.

    The original plan was to create a minimalist set, but it was realised that not many know the story of Anne Frank. Lorraine related how someone asked her whether the girl survived. I myself am familiar with the story yet when I visited the annexe last autumn it was still amazing to think it all happened within those tiny rooms.

    It was therefore necessary, not only to tell this story, but to help realise the experience that the Franks faced in the Annexe for those two years.

    The creation of set has been through several alterations and delays, but having been to the set building during the last two weekends, the hard work is beginning to pay off. The 4th January saw the painting of the flats, and last weekend we were at Lorraine’s house building a cupboard and a platform.

    The two days included trips down to the chippie, (both times it was closed, so we resorted to the co-op), some swearing, a few proud nuts and an enlightening discussion on the definition of “have you got it?”

    A great way to meet fellow players and contribute to the society.


  7. It has been interesting to work with so many new faces in Anne frank – sharing the cramped rehearsal space with people who are relative strangers, echoes what it must have been like for the eight characters, forced together in unusual circumstances, and forced to get along together – although obviously it is a lot less traumatic for us. The hardest part has probably been that these characters now have very real faces, and when I listen to the final Stages of the play, it is made doubly tragic and poignant as a result. This is also the first time I have ever experienced dentistry on the stage too!


  8. The sounds you hear during the performance don’t just happen – from the start of the planning for the play, the director works closely with her sound designers to create the atmosphere she’s looking for, from the moment you enter the theatre to the moment you leave.
    For “the Diary of Anne Frank”, there are not one but two sound designers – I’m doing Act One, and Mike Frost is doing Act Two! Lorraine has briefed us on the sort of sounds she wants, and we source them – and sometimes make them ourselves – and mix them to produce the effects that fit her vision.
    Some of the sounds you’ll hear in this show ; like the town bells – have come from a special CD recorded in America just for productions of this show. Others – like the air raid scene – consist of up to thirty individual sounds, mixed together to combine the director’s vision and the sound designer’s imagination!
    Next weekend we’ll be recording the live voices and radio bulletins – thanks to Southampton Hospital Radio for the use of the studio. Meanwhile, we have an air raid to manufacture…


  9. Playing Mr Dussel in this play has been a really wonderful experience. Despite not being the most experienced actor, previous to this, I have played highly comedic, fictitious characters, so playing a dramatic role which is actually based on a real person has been a real eye-opener.

    Mr Dussel (real name Fritz Pfeffer) is the much maligned, quasi-antagonist of the play. Being 21 myself, having to get into the mindset of a slightly cantankerous and objectionable 50-something man was a challenge initially, but what really helped was thinking,just why Dussel was the way he is portrayed. I think perhaps some schools of thought can be considered that maybe it is an unfair portrayal; perhaps what simply happened was that Dussel was obviously incredibly stressed and thrown into the Annexe as an outsider. Combine this with the fact that he is taken away from the woman he loves, (he was in fact, posthumously married to Charlotte), and we can begin to humanise him. This has been my main intention all along – to perhaps do justice to Fritz Pfeffer’s memory, and show that he was not just an objectionable presence in the Annexe; just a sensitive man under a lot of stress.


  10. Sound recording today. Beautiful Hebrew prayers and angry Nazi officer radio announcements, quite a shocking contrast. Reduced our director, Lorraine, to tears. Quite a day.


  11. Hello!
    Had a full run through of the whole play yesterday!! It’s so exciting I really felt I had connected with Anne, with only 13 days to go!! oh gosh wow that really is nerve Racking i hope you have bought your ticket, So what have we been up to? well last sunday we practiced with the whole set and were introduced to the actual amount of space we will have; we just stood there like “there is so much space!” Got Act 2 to do tommorow and the nazi soldiers (not real ones but very talented actors) are coming in so thats going that be good
    you know what to do!! Buy your tickets….. please


  12. In seven days time we will be building the set, setting out the display in the foyer. Around the city today, there are alterations being made to costs, sound effects being timed to the exact second, Lines being run, 1944 hairstyles being practiced, programmes being ordered, chaperones being arranged for the children and final arrangements for local VIPs put in place. A small dedicated group working way across the city to bring you what will be a wonderfully moving, not to be missed production. If you haven’t bought your tickets buy them now as they are selling fast. I am delighted to say that Profits from programme sales will be donated to The Anne Frank Trust UK. This play has moved us all so much it is lovely to give something back.


  13. Excellent full house to start the run yesterday. Backstage, between scenes, we bandaged Peter’s (Simon’s) hand that had unfortunately been hurt during a scene, searched for Anne’s nightie with only seconds to spare, sent Otto on without his scarf and congratulated the children on their first ever performance at the Nuffield. Chocolate cake was eaten, Nazi soldiers got inadvertently locked out the theatre so were seen walking round the campus trying to blend in, such is an opening night.

    But when Otto Frank gave this last speech (Not going to tell you about it you will have to come and see the show), there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, on stage, backstage and in the audience the tears came. Yes it is a sad story, but the life and spirit of Anne shone on stage and lives on within us.

    A great night.

    For tickets call (023) 80671771 or


  14. Backstage blog – day 2

    Last night was our second production, sounds were echoing (as they should) , lights were dramatically separating rooms and our story was told. Back stage Peter (Simon) did some more bleeding, from his head this time, the result of fearsome brushing of hair!. Chocolates were a wash, the ball scene (missing from the night before, finally happened with great success.

    In the green room, 60 years of West End little theatre group were celebrated to which I number of us formally belonged. Thomas fell off his chair, Christine fell in love with her wig and admitted that she had been bitten by the acting bug.

    In the auditorium a not so friendly ticket holder, tried to trip up the Nazi’s as they walked by. Plans were made for his removal by the Nazi officers if this was repeated, but luckily for him it wasn’t.

    In the foyer we welcomed our newest member Denise into the fold as she Sold programmes, All donations to the Anne Frank Trust UK, a very good cause.

    On stage… (sorry, you’ll have to come and see the show)…


  15. Friday backstage blog..
    After a slightly late start as the Director felt that she could see a stray light on stage, Yesterday’s performance went very smoothly, we have now got it off to a fine art, just in time for us to finish the run tomorrow. Our audience was packed and included a three week old baby making her first ever visit to the Nuffield. We were also delighted to have the Mayor and Mayoress of Southampton in the audience.

    Backstage we were very calm, English homework was done, Secret Army was read. The three week old baby was interrogated by a Nazi officer and her identity was confirmed. The Technical director sat in the green room designing a website, while sound and lighting operators did their stuff with great precision. Props found their way to the right place at the right time, oh and Simon had his third injury of the week, no blood this time though…

    Tonight is our last night of this moving show, if you haven’t bought your ticket, book it now as we are selling out. ….


  16. Well the run is over and a great success. Audience feedback was really positive. By 11.30pm the set had been dismantled and the furniture moved to the University Annexe for distribution back to people’s homes and storage. The stage was empty once more, but the memories were still there…. Thank you everyone who has been involved in the production and thank you to our brilliant audiences. In the next few days the Anne Frank page will appear in Past Productions on the website, full of photo’s quotes and comments from the play, take a look.

    But for now it is three hours until the after show party so glad rags on.

    This blog will close shortly, but watch out because The Great Gatsby is on its’ way……


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