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ANKA’S STORY - The history of the project

Four years ago Alex Cook, aged then just 14, a student at Chesterton CC, heard Eva Clarke tell her story in a PHSE lesson.

Eva continues to share the astonishing story of her, and her mother’s, survival to schools, community groups and even prisons throughout the country. Alex was asked by his teacher at the time to respond to her story in a creative way and chose to compose a short piece of music which we invited him to play at Cambridge city council’s HMD in January 2009. 

What we did not know until fairly recently was that Alex was SO inspired that he went on to compose a whole suite of music based on Anka’s story, each movement linked to a particular point in the narrative.

It follows Anka’s years in Terezin, her journey to Auschwitz and the punishing roll calls. It tells us of the birth and terrible loss of her first child and the hiding of her second pregnancy and the subsequent work in a slave labour factory near Dresden. As the war neared its end, the heavily pregnant Anka was packed into an open coal truck where three weeks later, starving and cold, she gave birth to her daughter Eva as the train arrived at Mauthausen Concentration Camp.

For the last three years Keystage has invited Helen, Bryony and Emily Garner to contribute a dance piece to our HMD event at the Guildhall – each one was more moving and beautiful than the last.  

When we heard Alex's music in it's entirety we knew that this was a story that could be told very effectively through dance and were delighted that the Garners and Alex thought so too.

It was performed on 28th and 29th April at Hills Road Sixth Form's Robinson Theatre. We are grateful for the sponsorship and support of the College, particularly Richard Fredman.


On the 22nd June 2012, we once again opened the doors of the Robinson Theatre at Hills Road Sixth Form College for the second performance of ‘Anka’s story - a contemporary ballet based on a true story of survival’.

Entry was free to see this repeat performance as part of National Refugee Week, which once again touched the hearts of many:

Thank you so very much for inviting me to tonight's wonderful production. The restraint, sensitivity, ensemble-working and stunningly high standard of dance combined with remarkable to music to create something which must be allowed to continue flourishing.”

Ange Brown (audience member)

If you would like to support this worthwhile project or be kept in touch regarding future performances of ‘Anka’s Story’, please Contact Us.

Friday, 22 June 2012