Vic Alhadeff debuts as a playwright

March 8, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
Read on for article

The screen will be raised at a cinema in Sydney replaced by an open stage where actors will perform a reading of the first play written by Sydney Jewish’s community identity Vic Alhadeff.

Vic Alhadeff

A prolific writer, he has turned his talents to writing a highly personalised play.

The play will be performed as a dramatised reading at The Ritz cinema in Sydney during the Jewish International Film Festival.

His debut work as a playwright, Torn Apart By War, tells the compelling true story of two people whose lives were turned upside-down by war and misunderstanding.

If things had gone according to plan, everything would have been so different. Vic Alhadeff’s father thought his fiancée had been murdered at Auschwitz; she thought he had perished. The drama takes place during World War II against the backdrop of the Greek island of Rhodes.

Vic Alhadeff was born in an asbestos mining town in Rhodesia, a paradox in itself with his parents having lived on the Greek island of Rhodes.

He attended university in Cape Town before joining the anti-Apartheid newspaper The Cape Times, becoming its chief sub-editor.

He has written two books on South African history.

In 1986 Alhadeff joined The Daily Telegraph as a sub-editor then worked at The Australian Jewish News for 18 years, nine of which he served as the paper’s editor.

Vic Alhadeff said about his first play: “The play brings to life my father’s heartbreaking human drama. I’ve long been aware of his story and the far-reaching implications if things had worked out the way they were intended. As a former journalist and author, bringing it to life has been a powerful personal experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

J-Wire asked how Vic Alhadeff managed to add being a playwright to his impressive CV.

He told us: “I’ve spoken about the Holocaust countless times publicly in my former role as CEO of the Board of Deputies to schools and public forums.

And wherever I’ve spoken about it, I referred to my father’s story. Approximately two years ago, I received a phone call from Michael Shur, who has for many years been a strong supporter of Maura Blumenthal, a well-known theatrical producer in the community and a producer. Essentially, Michael had told Moira about my father’s story. They suggested I write a play about it, and playwriting is an entirely different discipline from anything else I have done in all my years of writing.

I have written a historical book and over a thousand articles but never a play, so I was intrigued by the possibility.

And I began working on it. And that was two years ago. Moira put me in touch with a wonderful man in Melbourne, Rob Selzer,  a psychiatrist and himself a playwright.

I got invaluable coaching and advice on how to go about writing a play. And that was right at the beginning of the project.

Moira also subsequently put me in touch with Sandie Eldridge, who is referred to as a dramaturge and director. I’ve been working with Sandie on developing my script for the last 12 to 15 months, and Sandie has been an invaluable coach and resource and a counsellor in developing a script.

There were six performances at the Monkey Bar Theatre at Darling Harbour followed by two performances at the Jewish International Film Festival.”

The performance at JIFF will involve five actors with Moira Blumenthal directing. It is essentially a dramatised reading of the play.

Vic Alhadeff’s father, Salvatore Alhadeff with his fiancee, Becky

When asked if he had ambitions to see the play being widely produced, Vic Alhadeff responded: “My immediate purpose and my only aim at this stage is for the production to be positively received. I will be very grateful to have achieved that.

It’s a story about the Holocaust, and it does two things. One is that it continues to advance the message of the Holocaust and how it’s destroyed lives. Everywhere. And secondly, and more specifically, focus on the largely untold story of the Holocaust as it impacted the Jews of Greece and on the island of Rhodes, where both of my parents came from.

J-Wire asked Vic if the play should be performed throughout Australia, New Zealand and Jewish day schools.

He said: “I absolutely endorsed this.  The wider, the better. The more informed people are, the better. One should never tire of promoting awareness of racial hatred.”

Does Vic Alhadeff consider that this play will serve as an essential part of his legacy?

I certainly hope this will be a part of my legacy. Other features of it will include some of the extraordinary achievements which we and I use the word we achieved during my former role as CEO of the Board of Deputies achieving legislative reform, working together with the state government, achieved the passage of a new law which outlaws incitement to violence based on race, religion, gender and sexual preference.

Vic Alhadeff is currently a Non-Executive Director of SBS, former Chair of Multicultural NSW*Vic Alhadeff’s father, Salvatore Alhadeff with his fiancee, Becky

Asked about this new work, Alhadeff said: “The play brings to life my father’s heartbreaking human drama. I’ve long been aware of his story and of the far-reaching implications if things had worked out the way they were intended. As a former journalist and author, bringing it to life has been a powerful personal experience and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

Torn By War will share the program with:


In 2009 Rudolf Schwab’s letters were discovered by his grandson Daniel, in a forgotten trunk in the garage of the family home.  From this valuable collection of letters, we are taken on a powerful and poignant journey of insight into Rudolf’s struggles as a refugee, his displacement, loss of family, reconnection with those who survived and his surprising relationship with his German friend, Karl, a war-wounded Nazi.

Both these performances will be followed by a further performance at the Randwick Ritz as part of the Jewish International Film Festival on Sunday April 3 at 4.30pm.


Venue:                ARA Darling Quarter Theatre, 1-25 Harbour Street, Darling Harbour

Date/Time:     Thu 17 March 7pm; Fri 18 March 11am; Sat 19 March 3pm & 7pm

Price:              Full $40 /Seniors $35 / Students $20




Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.