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By Vicky Dorvee

Niwot High presents The Diary of Anne Frank


Niwot High presents The Diary of Anne Frank

For fear that they would be taken away by the Nazi forces that had invaded the Netherlands, the Frank family went into hiding in 1942 in cramped rooms concealed behind bookcases.The Jewish family lived a life of isolation for two years before they were discovered and arrested. Over that time, teenage Anne Frank passed the time by documenting her thoughts and the happenings in the secret annex in a diary recovered after the war.

This poignant and important story is the subject of Niwot High School’s upcoming production, at 7 p.m., Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9.

Kendra Schneider, adjunct professor at the University of Northern Colorado’s School of Theater Arts and Dance, was invited to be the guest director of the school’s show. Having recently earned her master’s degree in theater education, she was excited to work with NHS’s students and staff to bring the story to the stage.

Rehearsals began at the end of January and students have taken on the many challenges of the story with “heart and soul” Schneider said.

Schneider was told she could select a show she was passionate about. “I chose the Diary of Anne Frank because I think it’s a story that is so relevant right now,” Schneider said. “Even though it happened back in World War II in the 1940s, I think a lot of the issues in the story can be related to our climate now. Also, we see Anne’s journey of being an adolescent while being put under such harsh circumstances and how she grows into a teenager through that. This is a show that made me fall in love with theater to begin with and so I promised myself that this would be one of the first shows that I would direct.”

The production is an adaptation of the original book. Jason Watkins, technical director for NHS’s theater productions, did some wonderful lighting, and “created an intricate, beautiful set,” Schneider said.

With a tight schedule for pulling the show together, Schneider said, “I had to ask a lot of the kids and they really stepped up.”

The biggest challenges were the time in history, the cultural and the language differences the students needed to learn.

Niwot High presents The Diary of Anne Frank

“There’s some Hebrew and German that are spoken. Some of the Jewish culture and heritage is portrayed. Exposing the students to the traditions and languages when they’re not their own was a beautiful thing and we had a lot of fun learning all of this,” Schneider said.

Given the subject matter and that it occurred during Anne Frank’s adolescence, the production is appropriate for middle school age students and older.

“All of our actors are so attached to this project,” Schneider said. “I think they’re going to portray a beautiful story and really do the book and Anne Frank herself justice by telling her story and knowing that how many years later after her death, her words still do go on living and they still have an impact.”


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