Edinburgh Fringe preview: The Diary of Anne Frank, Her Journey in Music

Coming to Edinburgh Fringe next month, Girish Paul composes the music to highlight the story of Anne Frank (1929-1945), whose diary gives us insight into an ordinary Jewish teenager during the Second World War.

This dranatic concert is produced by Carmel Barrett and presented at the Old Dr Bells Baths on 18 Aug (3pm & 7pm).

Read on below to find out more about this powerful and heart-warming show.

Promotional image for The Diary of Anne Frank

What are you most looking forward to at Fringe?

This will be our first ever visit to the Edinburgh Fringe, so we’re looking forward to the buzz of the crowds, taking in a show or three ourselves to enjoy and to show support for other artists putting on a show, and during the quiet times we hope to take a stroll and take in the amazing history of the old part of the city. 

Anne Frank has become a household name due to her murder in the Holocaust and her diary detailing life in the annex. What attracted you to her story?

As a former teacher working in the Middle East in 1991 my students and I found ourselves being bombarded by scud missiles for over five months as the biggest war since World War Two kicked off, namely Operation Desert Storm.

As teaching and learning carried on as best we could I wanted to find words of inspiration to help calm my students and I found them in a copy of Anne Frank’s book The Diary of a Young Girl from the school library.

Her message of hope has inspired millions, and I determined at that time to someday bring her message to young people through my music.

There is actually another show at thid year’s Fringe about Anne, the Zenith Youth Theatre’s production of her story. How does your show differ from others on the subject?

Our version of Anne’s story is told primarily through my orchestral music score, but in order that the audience can visualise the scenes depicted by each musical piece we have filmed performances by wonderful actors of scenes in Anne’s life projected up on screen with subtitles throughout the entire show. This enhances the storytelling dramatically.

Your show is a dramatic concert of live music and pre-recorded acting performances. Was it an easy matter to compose music to do justice to this brave, yet normal young girl who found her life changed overnight.

Having worked as a teacher with countless young students at the age of Anne Frank I was well placed to combine my experience of the world of young people and the skill so composing music that I have honed since I myself was thirteen –  Anne’s age.

What should audiences take away from your show?

Audiences will share many of the joys and humour that Anne experienced herself, from happy days at her school to her friends and family life, but also will learn how this schoolgirl handled conflicts in her relationships, her fears, even her first kiss, with a maturity way beyond her years.

Most of all, it is her message of hope, through her very own words that are seen up on screen, that will live long in the hearts of the audience, as we have found during our tour of Ireland.