Waiting for Anya

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by Simon Reade

The foothills of the French Pyrenees during the Second World War. Jo Lalande’s village is occupied by German soldiers guarding the frontier to neutral Spain. While he is tending his family’s flock of sheep (his father is absent, a prisoner of war), Jo follows a bear cub into the woods, where he spies a stranger. Following him to a remote hill-farm belonging to the reclusive widow, Madame Horcada, Jo learns their dangerous secret: together they smuggle Jewish children, refugees from the war and the Holocaust, escaping over the border and into Spain. All the while, hoping against hope, they wait for their lost daughter and granddaughter, Anya. Sworn to secrecy, Jo risks everything – until the very German soldier he has befriended looks set to betray him.

Michael Morpurgo’s war story celebrates the triumph of a spirited community who stubbornly resist their invading aggressor. This new adaptation marks his tenth collaboration with Simon Reade over the past twenty years, including: The Mozart Question (Bristol Old Vic); Toro! Toro! (Salisbury Playhouse); Twist of Gold (Polka); On Angel Wings (NoMasters); the critically acclaimed An Elephant in the Garden (Poonamallee Productions); the Private Peaceful film (Goldcrest) and stage plays (West End/Off-Broadway/Dublin/world tours).

Waiting for Anya was commissioned by the Barn Theatre, Cirencester and received its world premiere in March 2023.

Paperback, 102 pages

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