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They Also Serve


Thu 16 Apr 2015, 6:30pm–8:00pm
Sat 18 Apr 2015, 2:00pm–3:30pm
Sun 19 Apr 2015, 2:00pm–3:30pm

Where: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Domain Dr, Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $25.00
  • Museum institute members: $22.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: concert3

Ilona Rodgers and Cathie Harrop will bring to life, through words and music, from letters, diaries and newspapers, the stories of NZ women at home and abroad during World War One with the support of musicians Paul Harrop and Jennie Khan.

During this time women's lives changed beyond recognition, caused by the loss of their men and the social turnaround over the 4 years of war and shortly afterwards.

Ilona and Cathie will entertain with integrity and humour, whilst bringing to the public through the medium of theatre, this part of our history when women ‘rose to the occasion’ and with true No 8 wire mentality they more than coped, only to be forgotten almost completely by the history book writers of our nation. Should we remember the despair of the woman who just couldn't knit but may have received up to four of the dreaded telegrams, or the woman who wrote beautiful poems, or even the misguided white feather girls?

The music of the Great War remembered today is mostly made up of the songs brought back by the soldiers after the war. They held special memories and it is right that along side those memories the tunes which held up the spirits of our soldiers are remembered.

However in “They Also Serve” you will hear some of the many songs written and performed by women in New Zealand during the war. Some songs were sent overseas to our troops to remind them of home, and enjoyed popularity on a small scale, many were also sung in fundraising concerts. Almost all have been forgotten. We will supply you with the words to enable you to singalong should you wish.

The fundraising during the war years reached huge proportions. Mostly carried out by women in every part of the country, funds came from small local galas and fairs selling home made goods to halls packed for patriotic concerts, and from coin trails and glass collections to hugely organised and popular Queen festivals.

History has chosen to largely forget the truly huge contribution NZ women made to the war effort 100 years ago.

The audience will be encouraged to pass on their own family history of women at the end of each performance when there will be time to talk about their stories with the performers, and hopefully this may encourage people to go back to their own families to record and share this part of our history. Finally "They Also Serve" celebrates the bravery and ingenuity of all NZ women, of the heroic women who joined as nurses to serve with our forces all over Europe and also the many of our of our women who were already overseas following careers that were temporarily put aside and for some never resumed, and of course the women who never left NZ but devoted a large part of their lives to the war effort.

Ilona Rodgers and Cathie Harrop have successfully collaborated on many live performances and Radio New Zealand programmes. They first worked together in the children's T V series " Hunters Gold" where they forged a friendship which has personally and professionally spanned more than 30 years.

In this time their work together has ranged from the long running radio series Pioneer Women of NZ which was originally written and performed for the Treaty of Waitangi 150 yearr celebration at Waitangi. This was followed by a further 100 radio programmes of Pioneer Families of New Zealand.

In contrast they also performed the very successful Town Hall season of "Joyce" the life and works of British Comedian Joyce Grenfell, and an acclaimed broadcast of Katherine Mansfield's Music to celebrate 100 years since her birth.

More recently alongside their individual professional careers, they have staged performances throughout the North Island in historic homes telling the stories of the original home owners.

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