The Lowry's intimate Studio space sees the return of the highly acclaimed one woman play - The Tin Ring which 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. The piece returns in October.

Jane Arnfield and Zdenka Fantlová
Jane Arnfield and Zdenka Fantlová
© The Lowry

At ninety years old, Zdenka 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 a 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." The Tin Ring is at the Lowry Studio space from 14 - 15 October and plays four performances.