For Holocaust Memorial Day 2020, a performance of PUSH will take place at the Chichester Festival Theatre.
PUSH is an opera inspired by the true story of Simon Gronowski who, as an 11 year old boy, was pushed off a train to Auschwitz by his mother in 1943. Simon Gronowski survived and is now aged 86 and living in Brussels. The opera also draws on various accounts by families and individuals who have experienced refugee and prisoner status since the tyranny of William the Conqueror following the Battle of Hastings in 1066 to contemporary global events.
The opera PUSH, composed by Howard Moody, was performed at Chichester Cathedral by a chorus of almost 100 adults and children from local community choirs and schools. The first performance took place on the evening of Saturday 27th January 2018 to mark international Holocaust Memorial Day. A second performance took place at St Paul’s, Chichester, on Wednesday 11th April 2018.
The MP for Chichester, Gillian Keegan was at the performance of PUSH in Chichester Cathedral on Saturday 27th January and was overwhelmed and deeply moved by the performance. So much so, that when Clare Apel (Chair of the Chichester Marks Holocaust Memorial Day Committee) suggested to Gillian at the post-performance reception that PUSH should be performed at Westminster, Gillian readily agreed to pursue and support the idea.
As a result a performance of PUSH took place in The Speakers House, Westminster on Monday 28th January 2019 to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. This is at the personal invitation of The Speaker of The House of Commons, John Bercow. Such invitations are rare indeed and a huge honour and privilege. The audience will be by invitation only and will comprise of a cross-party selection of MP’s, Rabbi’s, and senior members of various jewish and refugee groups.
The project has been developed by the Chichester Marks Holocaust Memorial Day Committee.