BROTHER WOLF is proud to present the return of A Lesson from Auschwitz
Written, produced and directed by award-winning actor/writer/producer, James Hyland, this unique theatrical production explores how and why the Nazis did what they did, shedding light on the mentality of the perpetrators and the disturbing reality of life in a death camp.
In 1941, Rudolf Höss, Commandant of Auschwitz, assembled his SS personnel in a secret meeting with the express purpose of introducing a new method for exterminating Europe’s Jews: Zyklon B, a deadly poison gas. Every soldier in attendance was sworn to secrecy, and no one questioned its usage. No one except a lone Jewish prisoner, forced to participate and humiliated throughout; the very prisoner upon which this “lesson” would be demonstrated.
Described by Plays To See as “a majestic statement of the power of theatre”, A Lesson from Auschwitz is the latest production in Brother Wolf’s long line of groundbreaking stage productions including A Christmas Carol –As told by Jacob Marley (deceased), the “definitive telling of A Christmas Carol” (Redditch Standard), winner of Best Performer in Theatre (Fringe Report Awards 2012); Fagin’s Last Hour,”powerful and highly accomplished” (The Stage), recognized by The Queen for its part in Dickensian Scholarship; Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, “magnificently intense, riveting theatre” (The York Press), winner of Best Male Act (Solo Festival 2013); and Magic Circle, “some of the best acting I’ve seen on stage” (UK Theatre Network). By 2012, The Courier described Brother Wolf’s acclaimed productions as “truly astonishing… unforgettable theatre at its best”.
a powerfully realised drama that finds new angles on these events where so many have trod before… the most powerful refutation there could be of Holocaust denial… a majestic statement of the power of theatre”
Rating: FIVE STARS
~Tim Hochstrasser, Plays To See
“this production should be seen by all – especially in the light of recent events.”
~Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network
“James Hyland who plays “Höss” (as well as writing, directing and producing the piece) is superb as the sadistic commandant whilst giving us glimpses of the madness of the man… it’s important that plays like this are seen by as many people as possible”
~Alan Fitter, London Theatre 1
“Michael Shon gives a powerful performance as Könisberg, a man who has been worn down by life in Auschwitz but who still retains his dignity… This is an incredibly powerful piece by Brother Wolf.”
~Loitering in the Theatre
“Both actors pull off their respective roles with aplomb… Much like Stanley Kubrick’s oeuvre, the importance of humanity in ‘A Lesson from Auschwitz’ is emphasised by the negation of it.. it is well-made”
~Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall
JAMES HYLAND is Artistic Director and Founder of Brother Wolf. He is also a multi award- winning stage and film actor as well as a critically acclaimed writer, producer and director. James’ work has been described by the press as “immensely powerful” (The Independent), “magnificent” (Plays to See) and “highly accomplished” (The Stage). To date, he has received 135 outstanding reviews as well over 300 audience testimonials for his ground-breaking performances. Following his education at the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, he made his professional acting debut in The North Pole, winning the Guardian International Student Drama Award in 1996. Since then he has appeared in over 70 professional productions, working with a variety of directors including Michael Boyd, Adrian Noble and Matthew Warchus, as well as acclaimed companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and Brother Wolf (of which he is the Artistic Director), winning a further four awards including Best Performer in Theatre (Fringe Report Awards, 2012) for his solo performance as Marley’s Ghost in A Christmas Carol – As told by Jacob Marley (deceased)and a nomination for The London Theatre Award (London Awards for Art and Performance 2012) in competition with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical. John Park, Director of the Fringe Report Awards, said “The award celebrates the work of James Hyland, actor, and in particular his creation and delivery of A Christmas Carol – As told by Jacob Marley (deceased). It reflects his fine work as an actor in film, TV, radio and theatre in a remarkable range of productions.” In the same year, further honours were bestowed by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace in recognition of Dickensian scholarship. By 2014, A Christmas Carol – As told by Jacob Marley (deceased) had been officially rated as one of “the top Christmas shows in London, Edinburgh and around the UK” (High 50 Culture). The show’s unique presentation has even been discussed in best-selling books about the theatre. And now, in the 175th anniversary year of Dickens’ original novella, James’ award-winning show will be performed at The Royal Albert Hall. The production was followed by two more award-winning one-man shows: Fagin’s Last Hour and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; in which James serves as adapter and producer on all three productions. All of the shows have toured extensively nationwide, breaking box office records along the way, including his 5-star commemorative drama A Lesson from Auschwitz, of which he is the writer, director, producer and co-actor (commended by The Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau), reviewed as “a majestic statement of the power of theatre” (Plays to See). His latest 5-star production sees him playing the role of Inspector Gammell in Magic Circle, a two-handed mystery play written by acclaimed novelist Kim Newman. The latest review describes his work as “the best acting I’ve seen on stage” (UK Theatre Network).
Michael has been working with Brother Wolf since 2016, having met James Hyland whilst working together on the short film Transmission. Michael has since performed and toured with Brother Wolf on two projects. Firstly, in James Hyland’s powerful 5-star commemorative production A Lesson from Auschwitz, playing the Jewish prisoner Abraham Könisberg. Having premiered at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre in 2016, the production has toured the UK extensively, garnering excellent reviews and audience testimonials in which Michael’s performance was described as “magnificent” and “totally believable”. In 2017 Michael worked again with Brother Wolf in collaboration with Harrogate Theatre on Kim Newman’s occult thriller Magic Circle, playing the hippy occultist Professor Harry Cutley. The show, directed by Phil Lowe, premiered on the main stage at the Harrogate Theatre and has since toured the UK, garnering fantastic reviews and audience testimonials along the way.
Michael is also a member of RSC Associate Director Aileen Gonsalves’ site-specific Butterfly Theatre Company. Michael has completed two tours of Germany with the company, playing the titular role in Macbeth (2014) and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (2015), as well as Jacques in As You Like It (2014-15) and Mort in California Suite Part 2 (2014) in London, Buxton and Devon.
Screen credits include the political prisoner Leonard in the multi-award winning short filmTransmission by Parallel Madness, in which Michael received a Best Actor nomination at the Torino Underground Film Festival. He also appeared as a sardonic hipster Justin in NTE Production’s short comedy Love, Hate, Date as well as the role of Dr. Francis Grappell in the Victorian crime docudrama Murder Maps now available on Netflix. Commercial work includes TV and in-house idents for Barclays, Weetabix and Perkbox.
Michael can be heard voicing the disgruntled animal rights campaigner Travis Jones, alongside Brendan Coyle and Lia Williams in the Audible’s Animal Instinct: Human Zoo, written by Simon Booker. He also has a recurring role as Tom Cunningham in Big Finish’s cult Dark Shadows,appearing extensively in the highly successful Bloodlust miniseries.