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David Gooderson: Playwright, Actor
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Kolbe's Gift

The inspiring true story of St. Maximilian Kolbe and his self-sacrifice in Auschwitz

About the Stage Play


Auschwitz, 1941. Ten men await an agonising death by starvation in an underground bunker. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest, volunteers to take the place of one of the victims…

What motivates such extraordinary self-sacrifice? What are the consequences for the survivor?

Since 9/11 and the 2005 London bombings the themes of martyrdom, sacrifice and survival have an urgent topicality. Kolbe’s Gift explores the heights and depths of human experience in a story for our time.


Raw, uncompromising history and drama of the highest distinction. I have rarely been more moved. …I cannot recommend it too highly.

Nigel Pascoe QC, Counsel

A brilliant piece of evocative writing

Ron Anders, Basingstoke Observer

David Gooderson has written a play that is so beautifully cogent. So shockingly stunning that he could give Wilfred Owen a run for his money. I cannot express how much I believe everyone should know about this piece.

Cherie Locatelli in a youngertheatre.com

An inspiring play which still haunts me eight years after I saw it.

Stella Wiseman, Farnham Herald


The play was first performed by the New Farnham Repertory Actors’ Company in 2006. Following performances in Farnham, it toured to Basingstoke and to POSK, the Polish Theatre in London.

In 2007, to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s Canonisation, the play was toured to venues in and around London by Tenten Productions.

In October 2013 Kolbe's Gift was produced by Ten Ten Theatre at the Leicester Square Theatre in London's West End. It was sold out 3 months in advance. 1 week. 8 performances. 3,200 people.


Kolbe's Gift was written by David Gooderson.


The play is based on extensive research in the UK, Poland, and the USA and is founded entirely on factual evidence gleaned from books, documents and personal interviews.

David owes a special debt to the late Dr. Józef Garliński, historian and Auschwitz survivor, who, in two long conversations, explained what it was really like.

Kolbe and Auschwitz

The original production's poster: a Maximilian Kolbe above Auschwitz's railway tracks. Design: Peter Ashcroft The original production's poster: a close-up of Maximilian Kolbe above Auschwitz's railway tracks. Design: Peter Ashcroft A scene from  Kolbe's Gift (a smartly dressed woman in the foreground with the camp commandant seated in the background, overseeing the scene)

For brief details, rest mouse over image

Performing Rights

For all enquiries about performing rights, whether professional or amateur, contact David’s Literary Agent:

Mike Sharland at The Sharland Organisation via…

No public performance of this play can be given unless a licence is obtained before rehearsals begin.

To Contact David