Over a three week period in July of 2011, 20-30 children from around the world will be invited to participate in a Summer Theatre Arts Program that will carry them through the grounds of Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem museum to the former ghetto of Theresienstadt in the Czech Republic.

A performance of Brundibár that took place at Seton Hall University. Photo by Liron Unreich.

This group of adolescents — descendants of Theresienstadt’s child survivors paired with second-generation survivors of genocide from Africa — will participate in a program modeled after Theresienstadt’s fabled mentors such as Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, Alice Hertz Sommër, Rudy Freudenfeld and Freddy Hirsh. The program will offer workshops, rehearsals and projects led by world accomplished mentors from the fields of writing, art and theatre as well as survivors themselves to culminate with an original interpretation of the children’s opera, Brundibár, to celebrate a victory of culture and art that was targeted for annihilation over 70 years ago.

A performance of Brundibár that took place at Seton Hall University. Photo by Liron Unreich.

The project’s documentary feature film will capture the pressures, relationships and personalities that emerge as this group of children consider their unique personal histories and discover their talents within the Brundibárproduction. While the Summer Theatre Arts Program, as a forum of discovery, creativity and interpersonal connection, is to be conceived and created for the benefit of the child participants, specifically, the resulting Brundibár: Beyond Imagination documentary feature film and website will reach out to a broad, multigenerational audience throughout the world to share a relevant and meaningful message of understanding, responsibility and tolerance for generations to come.

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