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The Diary of Anne Frank: Don’t’ Miss This Diamond at ACT

Artists Collaborative Theatre urges everyone to see their current production, The Diary of Anne Frank, before it closes March 23rd in Elkhorn City, KY. The story brings audiences into the dangerous world of the Frank family. Anne Frank, a 13-year old girl, and small group of family and friends must hide away in a tiny attic to avoid persecution by the invading Nazi forces. Through the detailed and inspiring diary she kept for two years, this famous young heroine of the 20th century grows through puberty into young adulthood to become the embodiment of hope and humanity in spite of the most unimaginable tribulations. An impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK captures the claustrophobic realities of their daily existence—their fear, their hope, their laughter, their grief.

ACT Theatre selected to use a gripping new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman—who uses newly discovered writings from the diary of Anne Frank, as well as survivor accounts—to create a contemporary impassioned story of the lives of people persecuted under Nazi rule. This is an adaptation which embraces religious identity, ethnic anxiety and teenage self-discoveries to confront the true horrors of the Holocaust. In this powerful new adaptation by Kesselman, Anne Frank emerges from history a living, lyrical, intensely gifted young girl, who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit, and determination. Each day of these two dark years, Anne's voice shines through: "When I write I shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death!" Whole relationships flower, patience is tested, survival is real, and hope is seen in the details of two hands touching and two eyes meeting. The audience is completely submerged in the lives of these families who, although living in desperate times, still experience the joys and humor of everyday life. When tragedy inevitably comes, the audience is not simply a witness, but a member of this living and breathing family that has been lost to the truths of history. Executive Director, Stephanie Richards, has the intent to remind and educate audiences this horror happened less than 70 years ago. “Hitler was not a just ‘a demon way over there in Germany’. He was a human, showing humans what humans are capable of and to what end will come when judgment is allowed in our society, our world,” says Richards. “Are we strong enough to do what Miep and Mr. Krawler did, even in less threatening situations?”

ACTheatre is thrilled to have Emily Chaney bring Anne Frank to life in this theatre world. Her honesty, playfulness and human insight is a journey for all to see. She has been involved in over thirty productions at ACT, but may be most remembered for her work as Helen Keller in 2011.  BJ Fuller portrays Mr. Frank, a father tasked with protecting his family and the small attic community under enormous pressure. Ashley Fuller brings such beauty and depth to Edith Frank. Tara Buckley shows Margo’s journey through her strength and frailty as her own individual, not just Anne’s sister. Lauren Brooke Stewart takes on the beautiful Mrs. Van Daan, who is forced to abandon her past life of wealth and culture to live in the tiny shared space of the attic. Jason Justice plays Mr. Van Daan, the affable but selfish business man who brings his family to share the Frank's small sanctuary.  Peter, the son of the Van Daan’s is played with naiveté, awkwardness and kindness by Treyton Blackburn. Larry Compton plays Mr. Dussel, a Jewish dentist, who is brought into the annex late and adds to the dynamic of annex family. Rodney Ruth set his goal high, as he wanted to make the real Mr. Kraler proud of his representation of this historical hero, who gave his life to do the right thing. Miep Gies is played by Keeli Collins, who enters the annex to bring news and small amounts of rationed food. Miep is a Christian, who cannot stand by while Hitler puts his plan into action. Mouschi, Peter’s annex cat, is purr-fectly played by Watson, the grey kitten.

The Diary of Anne Frank runs now through March 23rd. Show times are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30PM, and Sunday at 3:00PM. Ticket prices are $9.00 and are available either through the website,, or at the box office of the theatre. For more information about this show, upcoming shows, or about the theatre, you may visit the website, or contact the box office at (606) 754-4228 or 606 422-7333.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in bringing a school group to see a matinee performance of The Diary of Anne Frank, please let us know! We have had a lot of requests for matinee school performances, so we are currently looking into moving our production into Booth Auditorium in Pikeville, KY for two days to accommodate all students. If we fill up enough spots, we will proceed with the tour dates. The potential performance dates/times are April 16th at 9:30am and 12pm, and April 17th at 9:30am and 12pm. Prices are $3 per student. Please let us know what date/time you would be interested in, and how many students you would be bringing. THANK YOU!

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