The Diary of Anne Frank Opens March 1 in Toronto

From a media release - I've seen the talented Ms Cole on stage in Bethune Imagined and I think you can expect a really poignant performance:

Shakespeare in Action presents
Keeping the story of Anne Frank alive

Toronto, February 8, 2011 - Shakespeare in Action, Canada's leading classical company for young audiences, brings a new production of The Diary of Anne Frank to the stage. The Wendy Kesselman adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank opens March 1 and runs to March 13 at Central Commerce Theatre (with school performances beginning February 23). Rising star Sascha Cole (The Apology for The Next Stage Festival, Factory Theatre's Bethune Imagined, and CanStage's Rock'n'Roll) plays the title role.

• February 23 - March 13, 2011
• At Central Commerce Theatre, 570 Shaw Street

Few stories have captured the horror and cruelty of the Holocaust quite like the compelling story of Anne Frank. As her family hides from Nazi tyranny, a young woman's account of courage, love and human resilience transcends the chaos, and continues to inspire young people across the globe.

Shakespeare in Action brings this uplifting and important story to the Toronto stage for a new generation, featuring a first-rate cast of professional actors that includes, along with Cole, Chris Karczmar and Alexis Koetting as Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Bruce Beaton and Catherine McNally as Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan. Cindy Block, Joe Bucci, Shaun Clark, Kaitlin Janisse and Dan Karpenchuk round out the ensemble.

Shakespeare in Action founder and Artistic Director Michael Kelly, who also directs the piece, says, "As artists, we see it as our responsibility to share the stories of the past that help our youth better understand the human condition, and their responsibilities in creating healthy and peaceful communities. The story of Anne Frank continues to inspire young people across the world and we are thrilled to be able to stage it in Toronto in a production for all ages - young people and adults alike."

Kelly sees the play as an opportunity to explore larger issues around genocide, racism and persecution that permeate the world today. "In a time where we, as a society, struggle with conflicts around whether to build a mosque at Ground Zero, or debate the right of Islamic women to wear the Burqa, and where incidents of anti-semitic violence are on the rise,  stories that illustrate cultural violence, bigotry and religious intolerance are more important than ever."

Sascha Cole, one of Toronto's most talented emerging young actors, has earned rave reviews in productions including CanStage's Rock'n'Roll. She says, "The story of Anne Frank has the power to shed light on the darkest and most illuminating aspects of human behaviour. We see a creative soul thriving within the violent oppression of her time, and her story is a testament to the resilience of humanity and youth. I am excited to take on this formidable role."

Set designer Glenn Davidson will transform the theatre into the Frank family attic, and costume designer Lori Hickling will create a series of rich, beautiful costumes to bring the world of the Franks to life. Dora Mavor Moore Award winner Thomas Ryder Payne's poignant sound design will manifest the play's sense of loss and Anne's youthful, transformative hope. Stage management is by Lori Anderson.

Central Commerce Auditorium is a stunning turn-of-the century theatre, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. "It is a beautiful, largely undiscovered space that we are in the process of restoring as a professional venue for the community," Kelly says. "You can imagine a family seeking refuge here - it is intimate and in my opinion, the city's best kept secret. I think it will make the play even more relevant to youth to have it performed within a school."

Shakespeare in Action presents The Diary of Anne Frank
Starring Sascha Cole in the title role
Directed by Michael Kelly
Set and Lighting Design by Glenn Davidson, Costume Design by Lori Hickling,
Sound Design by Thomas Ryder Payne
 February 23 - March 13, 2011
At Central Commerce Theatre, 570 Shaw Street
OPENING NIGHT, March 1 at 7:30 pm; SUNDAY MATINEES, March 6 & 13 at 2pm
WEEKDAY MATINEES: February 23-25 at 10am; February 28-March 4 at 10am; March 7-11 at 10am).
Suitable for ages 10 and up.
Tickets $15 for adults, $12 for students (Discounts for groups)
Box Office: 416-703-4881. Reservations are essential.
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