It’s almost 40 years since a group of North Leeds school pupils put on The Evacuees by playwright Jack Rosenthal. Produced and directed by Sidney Fineberg, the much-loved headteacher of Roundhay School and Morris Silman Middle School, it has lasted long in the memory of those who took part all those years ago.
That’s why Sidney’s daughter, Abi Silver and many of the original cast have come together to perform the play again nearly four decades on. The Evacuees is a Second World War drama about two Jewish boys who are evacuated from Manchester to Blackpool. Originally a Play for Today for the BBC in 1975, it was loosely based on writer Jack Rosenthal’s personal experiences.
Now the home of the Leeds Jewish Free School on the Henry Cohen Campus, the Morris Silman School was the site of many readers’ formative years in Leeds. Sidney Fineberg, who was an English teacher at Roundhay School and had a passion for drama and theatre, passed away in 1989 from pancreatic cancer, and proceeds from the event will be donated to Cancer Research UK and the Rotary Club in Roundhay.
“My dad, who was a headteacher from the mid-1970s until his passing in 1989, was fondly remembered as someone who loved drama and theatre and was an inspirational person,” says Abi, who is now an author and now lives in Hertfordshire.
A cast of eight are currently in rehearsals and the play will open for one night on 7th April. It will also be adapted and directed by noted actor and theatrical director, Caroline Noh. In a touching coincidence, Caroline is a former pupil of the Roundhay School and was directed by Sidney in a school production of Hamlet.
Tickets are available to purchase online: Eventbite.co.uk