Image from a performance of PUSH

2020 – A special school’s matinee of PUSH at Chichester Festival Theatre

The evening performance for the general public was also sold out well before Christmas for the 27th January performance

For 2020 CMHMD specifically wanted to reach a wider audience of school children to develop our educational thrust aimed at young people and to bring The Holocaust, through the story of an 11 year old boy in PUSH, into sharper focus through the Arts to children of all ages.

CMHMD therefore organised a special school’s matinee performance of PUSH at Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT), again featuring our Company of local Community Choir singers, local school children and University Soloists. The performance was supplemented by educational workshops incorporating the story of PUSH as well as Human Rights and tours of the theatre. Over 300 children attended from 8 different schools aged from 10 to 18, the event was so popular we had to run a waiting list of other schools who would have liked to attend.

The evening performance for the general public was also sold out well before Christmas for the 27th January performance, thereby reaching another new audience and over 600 people on the day.

An additional performance of PUSH was arranged for February 2020 in support of The Snowdrop Trust and was held at Westbourne School in Chichester, another audience of 120 were reached with this performance. Again a wider audience than we had previously reached at CFT and all funds raised were donated to The Sussex Snowdrop Trust a local charity that provides Nursing Care at Home for children with life limiting or life threatening illnesses.

In April 2020, after Lockdowns throughout Europe members of our PUSH Community Choir came together to sing remotely with PUSH choirs from Bexhill and Belgium. Through many technical challenges our Choir once again demonstrated their determination to overcome personal challenges to perform PUSH.

“For the first time, all four casts have united across The Channel to form a giant virtual choir. 150 singers and musicians have recorded themselves in their living rooms singing the finale Ma Vie n’est que Miracles, including soloists James Newby, Sheva Tehoval and Ivan Ludlow.”

The many recordings were mixed and edited together and released on April 18, the eve of the 77th anniversary of the 20th Convoy. The final scene of PUSH is the moment when all the voices come together to express optimism in a dark world.”

The initiative of a school’s specific matinee performance proved highly successful and created a completely new dialogue in many schools around The Holocaust and the work of CMHMD and Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. The fact that we created a platform for schools to develop further and ongoing work in their classrooms by their own teachers meant that not only did we reach 300 children on the day but the message was carried back to their schools and even more children and teachers This relationship with schools is one that we plan to develop further in our work for 2022 and 2023.

Whilst at New Park Cinema, Ralph organised a screening of ‘Enemies of the People’ a chilling & brave documentary on the ‘killing fields’ in 1970’s Cambodia by Robert Lemkin and Cambodian Thet Sambeth.

Robert joined us at New Park for the screening. His great-uncle was the famous Polish Lawyer, Raphael Lemkin who was a Prosecutor at the Nuremburg Trials and coined the word ‘Genocide’

Oakwood School Teacher Quote
“The children were gripped by the performance and this was extremely pleasing as being an opera, a genre many of them are not used to seeing, it was so lovely to see their focus and interest in how the story was told.
Thank you for highlighting us to your performance. I myself have personal connections with the Jewish history and the holocaust, as my father’s family escaped Poland during the second world war. Some successfully to Britain and South Africa, but others very sadly were murdered by the Nazis in camps. Thus the performance had real resonance for me – so strong and powerful in its delivery, especially with the music, soloists and orchestra.”

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