Forthcoming Events 2018
National Tour Nicola Werenowska's play Silence
The playwright, who was runner-up of the inaugural Mercury Theatre play-writing prize with her drama, Hidden, said: “Silence is the play I’ve wanted to write for 20 years to give voice to a wartime Polish generation whose stories of deportation and displacement were written out of history, silenced by the fearful West, buried deep within families".
“And to give voice to those 2nd and 3rd generation Poles, trying to unravel the past, trying to make sense of who they are.
“As the wartime generation breathes its final breaths, as nationalism is on the rise across Europe, as prejudice against the Polish community surfaces here in the UK – now is the time to tell this story”.
Nicola Werenowska’s funny and fascinating new play hurtles between Warsaw and London over two decades and three generations of a Polish/British family.
The performances of the play Silence start on 12 October at the Mercury Theatre Colchester with a 10-day run
|Norwich Arts Centre|
Box Office: 01603 660352
|Liverpool Unity Theatre |
25 – 27 October
Box Office: 0151 7094988
|Lancaster The Dukes|
Box Office: 01524 598500
|York Theatre Royal|
2 & 3 November
Box Office: 01904 623568
| Ipswich, Sir John Mills Theatre|
Box Office: 01473 211498
|Canterbury, The Marlowe Studio |
6 & 7 November
Box Office: 01227 787787
University of Reading, Minghella Studios
13 – 17 November
Box Office: 01722 320333
THE LAST WITNESS - KATYN OSTATNI SWIADEK
13, 14, and 18 October 7:30 pm - Horsham, The Capitol cinema
Address: The Capitol, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1RG
Telephone: 01403 750220 (Box Office)
Thursday 18 October there will be a Post-Screening Q&A with Film
Director Piotr Szkopiak.
24 October 7 pm, Ognisko Polskie, Exhibition Road, London SW1
English version with Polish subtitles
Q&A with Director Piotr Szkopiak
Admission free by ticket only:
Reservations 020 7589 4670
DVD available online from Amazon, Zoom.co.uk, HMV Online or Best Buy.com in the Americas.
Listen to recent radio broadcasts
Syrena Songs - BBC World Service available on Iplayer
Broadcast on 5 August - Monica Whitlock tells Syrena Record's story and travels to Warsaw to hear from a new generation of musicians recreating Syrena's sound. Syrena Records was created in 1904. It sold millions of discs to new audiences hungry for shellac delights - opera singers, cantors, political humour and Yiddish theatre. Success allowed founder JuliuszFeigenbaum to invest in state of the art recording technology. By the time independent Poland was reborn in 1918 Syrena was well placed to shape the sound of a new nation.
Hot tango and jazz were performed by superb musicians and singers, mostly Jewish, mostly of a generation breaking away from the old world and facing the new. Adam Aston, Hanka Ordonka, Henryk Wars, Micheslaw Fogg and others cut disc after disc before playing in the elite nightclubs of Warsaw. Some 14,000 records by artists at the top of their game. Outpourings of Yiddish tango, slinky foxtrots, romantic ballads. Records in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Polish. Songs such as The Last Sunday and Donna Clara went international.
In 1939, invasion and war ended Syrena and the Polish nation. Its factory and archives destroyed, its artists murdered or scattered in exile. But there was one last tune to play. Henryk Wars, former musical director at Syrena, formed an orchestra that became the soundtrack of Poles in exile and in military uniform. From Tehran to Palestine to the fortress of Monte Cassino, those musicians and singers that had once been the heart of Syrena now played songs of a lost nation, creating the anthemic Red Poppies of Monte Cassino.
Available on repeat on BBC Iplayer radio - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswk4h available until 4 September.
A Helping of History - Broadcast on North Manchester FM but available online
Broadcast on Tuesday 7 August - Ann Siburuth is interviewed about the Resettlement Camps in North Manchester and tells of the story of the people of wartime Kresy.
Still Here: A Polish Odyssey - BBC Radio 4 available on Iplayer
Broadcast on 6 and 8 August - Jane Rogoyska meets Polish people who were exiled to Siberia as children by Stalin and their descendants. The changing winds of war took them from Siberia and Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan, Persia (now Iran) and onto India or Africa - then to Britain. They thought that Britain was another stopping point on their odyssey home to Eastern Poland but they and their descendants are still here. With the participation of Kresy Family members.
Available on repeat from BBC Iplayer radio - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bd7zj4. Expiry date TBA.
We are very pleased and excited to be able to inform you that we have new offices in London. Our new address is
Ilford House, 133-135 Oxford Street, London W1D 2HY, UK
We have a big space on the 1st Floor with some very nice rooms, an open plan area and even some furniture.
Helen Bitner's book 'A Song For Kresy' is available now
Kresy Family Polish WWII History Group
acknowledges and thanks
the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in London, the Polonia Aid Foundation Trust, Forever Manchester and Kresy Family members
for their financial support of our projects.
Directed by BAFTA Award Nominee Piotr Szkopiak, The Last Witness is a political thriller based on the harrowing true events of the Katyn Massacre in Spring 1940, starring Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike, I am Number Four), Michael Gambon (Harry Potter franchise, King of Thieves) and Talulah Riley (Westworld).
In post-war England, ambitious journalist Stephen Underwood (Alex Pettyfer) comes across a disturbing spate of suicides by Polish soldiers. Sensing a story, his first port of call is Colonel Janusz Pietrowski, a Liaison Officer for the resettlement of Polish troops under British command but the meeting with Pietrowski leaves Stephen unsettled, and from here his investigation escalates as he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous, multi-layered conspiracy concerning the execution of 22,000 Polish military and civilians by Stalin’s secret police.
The Last Witness is a story that is also very personal to director Piotr Szkopiak, whose mother Emilia was deported to Siberia by the Soviets in 1940. Emilia left the Soviet Union in 1942 and settled in England in 1947, where still she resides today. Her father and Szkopiak’s grandfather, Wojciech Stanisław Wójcik, was executed in the Katyn Massacre.
Directed by Jo Newman, Silence, a three-hander exploring the effects that World War Two has had on Polish families will debut at the Mercury Theatre before embarking on a UK tour.
It stars Tina Gray (The History Boys for the National Theatre, On Golden Pond, A Woman of No Importance); Kate Spiro (Bartholomew Fair at the National Theatre, Lorca’s Women, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Good for the RSC) and Maria Louis (who is best known for her role as Aldona in the BBC series People Just Do Nothing. She has also appeared in Coconut (BBC3) and Doctors (BBC).
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Please note that we have no connection with the Kresy-Siberia Foundation.