A note from the artist

In 2014 The Arbeit Macht Frei gate from the Dachau concentration camp was stolen. So, they commissioned a local blacksmith to make a perfect replica of the gate, millimetre for millimetre exactly like the old one, but not at all.

I have a lot of questions. What happens to sites of atrocity when they decay? What does it mean to have a replica object next to an original object somewhere like that?  How do objects, locations and people get contaminated with memory? And how can people with traumatic historic events in their family trees balance a responsibility to the past with a commitment to the present?

This performance installation is a distillation of years of research, testing, learning to weld, visiting memorial sites, stopping for COVID, starting again, and talking to memorial and anti-memorial architects and artists. I hope it raises more questions.

Rachel Mars


Performance Installation Team

Conceived and Presented Rachel Mars

Dramaturg and Co-director Wendy Hubbard

Sound Dinah Mullen

Designer Naomi Kuyck-Cohen

Metal Fabricator and Mentor Jeni Cairns

Sound Engineer James Ball

Production Manager Helen Mugridge

Producer Claire Summerfield at Tandem Works

Rabbinical / Judaism Consultancy Jacqueline Nicholls and Rabbi Lev Taylor

Development Mentors Karen Sherman and Helen Paris

El Malei Rachamim sung by Rachel Weston

Project Photographers JMA Photography and Claire Haigh


Performance Installation Credits

Commissioned by Transform Festival and Cambridge Junction with support from Stobbs New Ideas Fund

And further support from Chapter Arts Centre and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

Development supported by Horizon Showcase: Performance Created in England, Metal Culture, MGCFutures and Asylum Arts

Originally developed through the Barbican Open Lab programme.


With Thanks To

The Intermission 2019 Group, Melanie Brown, Family Mars, Gemma Curtis, Vanessa Ackerman, Adam Schorin, William Essilfie, Uli Unseld, Kat Radeva, Anna Barrett and Margret Grundmann – May Her Memory Be A Blessing.


Transform Team

Creative Director Amy Letman

Producer Ali Ford

Producer (Creative People) Lily Lavorato

Assistant Producer Jay Millard

Trainee Producer Patrick McGeady

Company Administrator Rosie Hay

Production Manager Hannah Blamire

Project Manager Tshayi Hercules

Marketing & Communications Jack Lynch & Suzanne Wynne

Press Bread and Butter PR

Design Rabbit Hole



Rachel Mars is a London based, multi award-winning writer and performer with a background in theatre, live art and comedy. She grew up as the only gay in a British/Jewish family that attempted to balance English propriety with Yiddish volume. FORGE is commissioned by Transform and Cambridge Junction with support from Stobbs New Ideas Fund. With support from Chapter Arts Centre, Horizon Showcase, Metal Culture, MGCFutures and Asylum Arts. Originally developed through the Barbican Open Lab programme.



Transform is an engine room for powerful performance. We create exhilarating international festivals and work year-round to catalyse future-gazing artists and creatives to reimagine what theatre can be. Presented as an extended festival from Autumn 2021 to Spring 2022, Transform 21-22 will invite audiences from across Leeds and beyond to connect with bold, brave, vivid and socially-conscious performance by powerful artists from across the globe.
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