It is with a heavy heart that we have learned of the passing of our good friend Kay Mellor. Leeds born and bred, Kay was a pioneer of northern drama and real-life stories, going where no other female writer, director, or actor had gone before. We’re deeply proud and humbled to have been chosen as the home venue for her two stage premieres, Fat Friends The Musical (2017) and Band of Gold (2019) – both of which were huge success stories, as was everything that Kay turned her hand to. The hearts and thoughts of our theatre family are with her family, who we are also blessed to call friends of our theatres.

Birds flying free over broken barbed wire and sunset

Holocaust Memorial Day 2022

This year, the Holocaust Memorial Day civic remembrance event will take place at City Varieties Music Hall on Sunday 23 January with the theme ‘One Day’.

Written by Ellen Carnazza.

The Lord Mayor will open this year’s civic remembrance event, which will include a keynote speech by Dr Stefan Hördler, Lecturer at the Institute for Economic and Social History, University of Göttingen, and Visiting Professor within the School of Arts & Humanities at the University of Huddersfield.

Past members of our Leeds Actors in Training (LAIT) programme have created a performance for the event inspired by Emmanuel Ringleblum and the Oneg Shabbat Archive. The piece is dedicated to his legacy. There will also be music by the UHC choir and a tribute to the late Rudi Leavor BEM who was part of this event for many years.

The event will conclude with a reading of the seven statements of commitments with candles lit by representatives of the different groups persecuted, including Holocaust survivors, people with additional needs, the LGBT+ community and Remembering Srebrenica.

The Holocaust Memorial Day civic remembrance event takes place at City Varieties on Sunday 23 January 2022 at 2pm. You can attend in person or join us online.

Tickets for the live event are free but limited. To book, please visit our event page or call our Box Office on 0113 243 0808.

If you would rather join us online then please follow the livestream link.

Birds flying free over broken barbed wire and sunset

What is Holocaust Memorial Day?

Holocaust Memorial Day is the international day of remembrance of six million Jewish men, women and children murdered in the Holocaust, and millions of other people killed under German Nazi persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

This day of remembrance allows people to join and reflect on the Holocaust, to tell important stories, and to challenge hatred & persecution.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘One Day’.

Holocaust Memorial Day gives us a chance to commemorate and remember those who tragically lost their lives in the Holocaust and other genocides around the world. It is also an opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment to never forgetting the lessons of the past as together, we continue working towards a better future for everyone in Leeds and around the world.”

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Asghar Khan

Each year, Holocaust Memorial Day allows us to stand with those in communities across Leeds and reflect on what history can teach us about the importance of tolerance, unity and togetherness. It is also a chance for us to learn about those affected by genocide around the world, and think about what action we can take for the future.

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council

The Third Urn

October 1939 inside the Warsaw Ghetto, Emanuel Ringleblum is secretly compiling a historical archive. He knows that the treatment of those moved here is unprecedented and he’s not the only one.

By November 1940, what was a personal chronicle has now become a full-scale underground operation.

In the archive, a huge source of material was collected, including items from the underground press, documents, drawings, sweet wrappers, tram tickets, ration cards and theatre posters. It saved literature: poems, plays, songs, and stories.

The archive was named ‘Oneg Shabbat’ or ‘Joy of the Sabbath’. The archive was successfully hidden from the Germans.

Ten metal tin boxes and two milk urns were recovered after the war.

One urn, however, was never found.

Leeds Heritage Theatres has commissioned their Leeds Actors in Training (LAIT) to pay homage to Emanuel Ringleblum’s archive.

The Third Urn, directed by Ashley Pekri and performed by Sophie Suttle-Marshall, Natasha Hudson, and Jess Baskind, focuses on telling stories from the Ghetto’s that are lesser well known, stories that (like those in the missing urn) are yet to be told.

With special thanks to The Holocaust Survivor’s Friendship Trust and The Holocaust Learning and Exhibition Centre, Huddersfield, for their resources and support for the project.

Programme of Events in 2022

For more information about other events in Leeds for Holocaust Memorial Day, click here: HMD 2022 – Programme of Events.

Other events include:

Zine Launch and Survivor Talk: Martin Kapel on Wednesday 26 January – a free, online talk with with Holocaust survivor, Martin Kapel, and artist, Paula Kolar

One Day: Music and the Holocaust on Thursday 27 January – a special concert by the orchestra of Opera North at Howard Assembly Room