The Image of Anne Frank in Modern Theatre
thesisposted on 02.08.2017, 13:57 by Anna Jamie Allison Scanlon
This thesis seeks to explore Anne Frank and her representation in theatre and how it has changed over time. Anne Frank is one of the most well known victims of the Holocaust and is often used to represent the 1 million children who perished in the Nazi genocide. As such, numerous theatrical products have been created about her, including those that have been “allowed” by the official organizations who protect her memory (the Anne Frank House and Anne Frank Fonds) and those that are written by artists wishing to explore their own relationship to Anne. While the two Broadway products of The Diary of Anne Frank are often explored in literature relating to the Holocaust in theatre, as of yet, there has been no thesis exploring Anne in theatre as a whole. Speaking about only the Broadway productions severely limits the discourse and leaves out the question of why so many artists are compelled to create new productions about Anne Frank and why, when so many pieces already exist about her, people continue to attempt to capture her “true essence” in theatre—and the question of whether authenticity is important when producing a historical piece. This thesis also explores the enduring popularity of the Broadway production with professional and amateur theatrical groups throughout the United Kingdom and what motivates companies to continue to perform this piece, despite the glaring flaws that both historians and theatrical professionals have noted in its writing as well as its dated nature. Lastly, this thesis seeks to explore the on-going issues and controversy concerning the future Anne’s legacy in theatre since the death of her father and first cousin, both of whom were in charge of allowing pieces to be made about Anne. This thesis fills a much-needed gap in research about Anne Frank, but also speaks to the representation of the Holocaust in modern art as a whole and whether true historical representation is necessary and how interpretation of texts change over time.