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The Red Plague


Thu 18 Jul 2019, 7:30pm–9:00pm
Fri 19 Jul 2019, 7:30pm–9:00pm
Sat 20 Jul 2019, 7:30pm–9:00pm

Where: The Suter Theatre, 208 Bridge St, Nelson, Nelson / Tasman

Restrictions: PG

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $20.00
  • Additional fees may apply


Listed by: Gordonandpenny

The play is based on the true life story of New Zealander, Ettie Rout, a journalist, campaigner and safe sex pioneer during the first world war, dubbed "the wickedest woman in Britain."

Against government backing she recruited a group of women to work alongside the troops in Egypt and it was through that work that she discovered the extremely high rate of VD cases amongst the New Zealand troops (20%).  

She then set about designing and producing an early treatment kit for soldiers to carry in their kit bag, but the authorities, the army and the people at home could not accept this move towards making "vice safe". Ettie had no sympathy for the “moral tangles” back home. She saw the whole issue of VD as a medical issue not a spiritual one.

The play does not try to make a heroine of Ettie, though there is no doubt now that she had the right idea.  We portray the dilemma and distress caused by the issues from both sides, the dehumanizing effect of war and the political and social issues in context.

About Histrionics - We are a small non-profit team who enjoy bringing New Zealand history to life in our community.

We were the Trustpower community awards ‘Tasman’ winner in 2015 and overall winner in 2016 for our ANZAC school education programmes. We have now expanded to cover other local history. In the last two years we have presented Too Many Cooks (the Marsden family at Isel House); the 1866 Great Fire of Nelson; the 1955 Kiwi Rail Protest (Founders) and performed a Passchendaele centenary commemorative.

Last year, we bought to life a Women’s Suffrage protest march from 1893 and produced a play on the church steps to commemorate the centenary of the signing of the 1918 Armistice to end World War one.

We are always looking for people who are keen to be involved so please get in touch with us through Facebook or email -