The Girls in Grey
A vivid retelling of nurses stories from World War 1
Set within the vast landscape of World War One, this inspirational work brings to life the voices of Australian nurses in a poetic, candid interpretation of life on active service. The Girls In Grey is published by Currency Press was included on the VCE Drama Curriculum for 2012.
Australian nurses Elsie, Grace, and Alice leave our Australian shores, determined to prove their worth and find adventure.The splendour of sunsets over the sphinx is soon obliterated by the eruption of casualties from Gallipoli and the Dardanelles. The barren shores of Lemnos Island test even the most stoic, and in the muddy sludge of the Western Front they battle horrific working conditions, bearing witness to the horror of war and the devastation of young men involved in front line conflict.
Elsie always looks for the brighter side. Her infectious sense of humour disguises a fierce determination to follow her husband Syd to war. Courageous Alice is drawn to adventure, unexpectedly falling in love with Harry; a lieutenant whose fate is to be at the dreadful battle of Fromelles. Sturdy, serious Grace is the demanding yet compassionate Matron whose calm resolve is gradually eroded by the anguish of war.
IN PERFORMANCE AND TOURING HISTORY
Four actors; three female, and one male who plays the multiple roles of husband, sweetheart, brother and the iconic role of “the unknown soldier” perform The Girls in Grey.
The first development season was at La Mama theatre in Carlton November 2010, followed by performances at The Shrine of Remembrance in May 2011 as part of Education Week. In 2012 the play opened on ANZAC Day for a three-week season at Theatre Works in St Kilda and was on the VCE Curriculum as part of drama studies. The play then toured to regional Victoria in 2013 and N.S.W. and Victoria in 2014 and W.A. and Victoria in 2015.
This production was generously supported by Cybec Foundation.
THE GIRLS IN GREY REVIEWS
“A tribute to the courage of Australian Military Nurses” (The Age)
“The acting was superb…well researched and beautifully written...The Girls in Grey is inspiring, poignant and honest...’ (Artshub)
“An artistic blend of history and theatre to preserve these precious stories and enlighten the generations of today and tomorrow” (Melbourne Observer)
“An insightful historical text, it is no surprise that The Girls in Grey is on the VCE Drama list…It would make an excellent touring show” (Stage Whispers)
“Riveting theatre” (3PBS)
Co-founder of The Shift Theatre
HELEN HOPKINS is co-founder of The Shift Theatre, a member of La Mama’s Committee of Management, a scriptwriter, theatre producer and an actor with a long career in both film and theatre, including many La Mama productions.
Co-Founder of The Shift Theatre
CAROLYN BOCK (Co-producer and performer) Co-Founder of The Shift Theatre, Carolyn is a graduate of The Victorian College of the Arts and her extensive performance career over 25 years has spanned dance and drama.
Production and Stage Manager
Rebecca Etchell is a freelance Production Manager, Stage Manager, Lighting and Set designer based in Melbourne.
SAMANTHA MURRAY is back East after 10 years on the West Coast and performs in Theatre, Film & Television. Recent performances in Melbourne include the 2013 Midsumma sold out season of Tennessee Williamsʼ Vieux Carre at FortyFive Downstairs. Previous theatre credits include Twelfth Night, Proof, A Man With Five Children for BlackSwan State Theatre Co.The Heidi Chronicles & Tim Wintonʼs The Turning for PTC & Perth International Arts Festival.
MARTIN BLUM - In 2006 Martin was one of twelve actors selected to be a member of Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘Actor’s Ensemble’, performing in eight productions over two years, including Benedict Andrew’s The Season at Sarsaparilla.
ALEXANDRA HILLER is a visual artist. Her background has predominantly been in painting. For the last two years she has been involved in set design and construction in both film and theatre, working in varied roles from scenic artist to art director. Her interest and passion for set design has led her to further explore her skills by studying Production in Dramatic Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Nick Merrylees is a Melbourne based lighting designer of drama and opera. He was the first resident lighting designer of Red Stitch and lit twelve of their shows including Uncle Bob.
Lyn Wilson is a designer, artist, landscape architect and design educator who has worked extensively in both theatre and film on costumes and sets, as designer and maker.
Nick van Cuylenburg
Nick van Cuylenburg is a composer/sound designer who writes music for theatre, dance, film and television. Specialising in both electronic and acoustic styles of composition, Nick undertakes a wide variety of work, from instrumental and orchestral scoring to ambient / electro-acoustic surround sound installations.
TOM HEALEY’s recent projects include Spring Awakening (the arts academy),The Breath of Empty Space (vca), By Their Own Hands (as production dramaturg, hayloft/mtcNEON), The Girls in Grey (the shift theatre/critical stages), A Bright Room Called Day (vca), Days of Significance, Metamorphoses, Attempts on Her Life, Punk Rock (flinders), Disarming Rosetta (hothouse), Turns (cdp) Good Evening (token),The Spook and Drink Pepsi, Bitch (malthouse theatre).
KAREN MARTIN is a regional writer/ director. She has extensive theatre experience in both a professional and community arts capacity. Her professional theatre work includes: Drowning in her Soup, Don't Tell Me I'm Glowing, and Shoes of Desire Pt 1. Her visual arts instalments and projects include Trees of Aspirations and A walk of art. Karen was awarded the prestigious Ewa Czajor Memorial Award in 2001 for her work on The Women's Jail Project and is a recipient of the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship (St James Ethic Centre) for her community theatre work. She has just produced a season of her new production Rendition of the Soul.