The Tin Ring Play

The Tin Ring
Based on the memoir of Zdenka Fantlová
In Association with The Lowry, with support from Arts Council England

Thu 6 – Sat 8 September 2012

Press Night: Thu 6 September 2012, 8pm

The Tin Ring tells the story of a remarkable young woman who went through the hell that was the Holocaust but found her salvation in the love of her boyfriend Arno who gave her a tin ring.

A Holocaust survivor’s memoir, adapted for the stage, makes its world premiere at The Lowry.

At ninety years old, Zdenka Fantlová is one of a handful of living eye-witnesses to the atrocities of the Holocaust, to which she lost her entire family. Today, she is determined to tell her inspiring story of great love, one as uplifting as it is harrowing, to as many people as possible.

Mike Alfreds (Shared Experience and Method and Madness) co-adapted and directs this stage version of The Tin Ring. The story is brought to life by co-adapter Jane Arnfield (Jane played the lead role in Cymbeline, Shakespeare’s Globe, London, New York, opposite Mark Rylance) in an extraordinary solo performance.

Zdenka says:

“My story is universal: it is about the power of love, which combined with hope, enables us to achieve almost a miracle. I hope it will inspire all who see the performance”.

On 13 June 1942 at Terezin concentration camp, Zdenka and her lover Arno shared a risky farewell meeting. Arno gave Zdenka a hand-made tin ring, with the engraving ‘Arno 13.6.1942’. Then, like so many others, he was ordered into a cattle truck destined for the unknown. They never met again.

The three years that followed those last moments with Arno saw Zdenka stand at the doors of Auschwitz’s gas chambers, march 450 kilometres through the snow without food and travel in goods trains crammed with prisoners, for days at a time, next to the corpses of those who had suffocated.  Stripped of her freedom, clothes, possessions, and even the hair from her head, upon her arrival at the infamous Auschwitz, Zdenka risked her life to conceal the tin ring from her torturers.

A symbol of his love for her and his desire for them to meet again and marry after the war, Zdenka still has the ring today, seventy years on.

Zdenka’s unrelenting spirit and the tin ring, which became her source of hope and truth, sustained her until she was liberated from Belsen, weighing just 77 pounds, unable to stand and suffering from Typhus. She dedicated her book, The Tin Ring, to an unknown soldier of the British Army who, in April 1945, broke military instructions to ensure her evacuation from the camp and ultimately save her life.

The Lowry’s Artistic Director, Robert Robson says:

“The Tin Ring is powerful and will tell a remarkable story still relevant to people of all generations.”

To coincide with the world premiere of the stage play, independent publisher McNidder & Grace will be releasing an original paperback version of the book The Tin Ring – on sale from Thu 6 September 2012, priced £8.99. For more information please visit
Listings Information
The Tin Ring

Thu 6 – Sat 8 Sept

Times Thu 1.30pm & 8pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 3pm & 8pm

The Studio

The Lowry Information & Box Office
Telephone  0843 2086005
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays M50 3AZ
Twitter @The_Lowry


Notes to Editors
Media Enquiries
For media enquiries, please contact Aimee Wood
T:  0161 876 2044

A synopsis of the book The Tin Ring and background notes for press are available upon request.
Biographical Information

Co-adapter and Performer, Jane Arnfield
JANE ARNFIELD is a lecturer at Performing Arts School of Arts & Social Sciences Northumbria University. Jane is an Associate Artist with the Cambodian Documentation Centre (DC-Cam) in Phnom Penh, and a recently appointed member of the museum team for The Sleuk Rith Institute committed to building a permanent documentation centre in Phnom Penh managed by DC-Cam Director Youk Chhang.

Jane’s current Arts Council England commissioned solo performance is an adaptation of The Tin Ring looking at the life of Zdenka Fantlova. Zdenka is one of the few remaining survivors who experienced virtually the entire Nazi extermination process.

Jane has been a theatre practitioner for the past twenty-four years, having graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 1988 with a BA (Hons) in Theatre. She has been a member of three ensemble companies: Mike Alfreds Method & Madness, The David Glass Ensemble and the Northern Stage Ensemble.

Jane has worked with a range of international theatre directors, including Richard Gregory from Quarantine, an Mike Alfreds at Hampstead Theatre, The Young Vic and Shakespeare’s Globe London and New York, where Jane played Imogen in Cymbeline with Mark Rylance.

Jane has a commitment to researching, constructing and disseminating theatre practice within education and for four years worked with Cassop Primary School in County Durham as an artist in residence. Jane was the Artistic Director of Cassop & Coal and won the Journal Culture Award 2009 for ‘Performance Event of the Year’.

 In January 2011 Jane became a lecturer in the Performing Arts Department at Northumbria University. Jane has been the Artistic Director for the Newcastle Holocaust Memorial event for 2010 & 2011.The themes of her solo theatre work since 2003 have been to question the nature of biographical theatre and the survival mechanisms deployed by human beings in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.

Jane’s first Arts Council England commissioned solo performance, Geneva, researched at Everest base camp and Pheriche Hospital, explored the effects of high altitude on the body and the extremes individuals endure in order to climb mountains.

Her second Arts Council England commissioned solo performance, The Gymnast, examined the Cambodian genocide. The Gymnast directed by Nigel Charnock played the Edinburgh Festival 2008 as well as being selected to play the M1 Singapore Arts Festival in January 2010.

Co-adapter and Director, Mike Alfreds
MIKE ALFREDS was born in London and trained as a director at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. He lived in the USA for eight years, during which he was artistic director of the Cincinnati Playhouse-in-the-Park, and of Theatre West, Tucson.

For five years he worked in Israel where he became artistic director of the Jerusalem Khan Theatre. He has also worked in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Norway, China and Mongolia.

In the UK, he founded Shared Experience and ran it for thirteen years. He was artistic director of Cambridge Theatre Company, later renamed Method & Madness, and has directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal National Theatre, where he was an associate director, and for several regional repertory theatres. He has staged over 200 productions, and won awards both in the UK and abroad.

He has adapted novels and stories for the stage, devised performances and translated the texts of several of his productions. He maintains a parallel career as a teacher. He was a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University and on the staff of LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) for several years. Mike is now a Visiting Fellow at Northumbria University. He gives frequent courses on acting, directing, rehearsal processes and storytelling.

The Tin Ring, by Zdenka Fantlová, is published under the imprint Northumbria Press by independent publisher McNidder & Grace.

Originally Posted on The Lowry Website