On Thursday I was delighted to be invited to St James Theatre, Victoria, to see their current show – The Pianist of Willesden Lane. Mona Golabek stars in this staggeringly emotional and moving play which documents the true story of her mother Lisa Jura’s journey from Vienna in 1938 on the Kindertransport and her subsequent life in London. The show is about music, love and survival and features some of the world’s most loved piano music played live.
The play is running until 27th February and at each show there is a collection for the Centre. At the end of each performance Mona speaks passionately about how the British people were the reason her mother survived, making it clear why for her it is so important the play came to London. She ends by saying how close the Centre is to her heart, because when her mother first arrived she needed a helping hand, just like our clients, and she encourages people to donate.
The parallels between the story of Lisa Jura and many of our clients are startling. Just like our young hostel residents, Lisa lived in a hostel in London (albeit on Willesden Lane) and was supported to realise her dreams. In our hostel we currently have eight unaccompanied minors who came here under very similar circumstances to Lisa, with nowhere to go and relying of the kindness of people. The Centre has been there for them offering a lifeline and the support to settle into a new country without their families.
St James Theatre began supporting the Centre in late 2015 and has since collected over £5,000 with the help of The Pianist of Willesden Lane. Additionally, the theatre has collection boxes in the foyer, creates awareness of the Centre by featuring us in their theatre programme and their staff have volunteered at the Centre.
Thank you St James Theatre and Mona for continuously supporting the Centre, and for inviting us to hear such an incredible story.
To see what futures shows are coming up at the St James theatre visit www.stjamestheatre.co.uk