Anna Smulowitz. Director. Writer. Humanitarian.
Upon her arrival in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1979, Anna founded the Newburyport Children's Theatre, now known as Theatre in the Open. Over the past 33 years, she has worked with most of the local theater and dance companies. Currently, she runs Smulowitz Productions which presents dramas and musicals in the Newburyport area. Smulowitz Productions annually collaborates with over 100 local actors, directors, designers, writers, choreographers, musicians and stage technicians. The long term goal of the organization is to provide contemporary and classical theater experiences for children and adolescents. She continues to teach at Acting Out Productions. Students range in age from 9-13.
Since 1979, Anna has acted in, directed or produced over 150 shows in Newburyport, and developed three major summer arts programs, each of which is currently active in the community. Anna now collaborates with former students and colleagues in developing and producing new plays at the Actor's Studio of Newburyport and the Firehouse Center for the Arts.
In 1994 Anna was given the Model People award by the Timberland Corporation for her work on Terezin: Children of the Holocaust. Terezin is the story of six children imprisoned in a cell in the concentration camp during the last two days before they are transported to Auschwitz. Anna, the daughter of two Buchenwald and Auschwitz survivors, was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany, and as a young child, emigrated to the United States with her parents. She wrote Terezin as a tribute to her many relatives who died in the Holocaust. One of the characters in the play is based on Anna's mother. Anna wrote the play while a student at the University of Cincinnati and it premiered there in 1970. She was inspired by a real letter from 12-year old Chaim Landau, who was interned at the Terezin concentration camp, in which he wrote “If you should find this letter, tell someone. We want to go home. Please remember us.” In 2008, Anna received the North Shore Anti-Defamation League's Leadership Award for her work with the play — bringing it into the schools, linking its lessons with contemporary issues like bullying and homophobia.