Four women. Many stories. A century of service.
Edinburgh is the home of The Scottish Women’s Hospitals, founded in WW1 by Doctor Elsie Inglis.
Many Australian medical women found their place in these outfits – staffed entirely by women, and they paved the way for the future. One of those women was surgeon Lilian Violet Cooper. Her story, among others of courage and endurance, features in Hallowed Ground. In a way, we are bringing the stories home!
Set against the vast landscape of world conflict from World War One to contemporary times, four women unite across a century to share their personal stories of active service as doctors in the military.
Lilian, a surgeon in her fifties, denied military service in Australia in World War One, travels abroad to join The Scottish Women’s Hospital, serving in the remote Balkan snowfields. In World War Two, Mary, a specialist radiologist, she too denied service with the Australian Army, finds herself the only woman among 3000 British troops bound for the Middle East.
As a peacekeeper on active service in Iraq, young doctor Tam, plagued by dreams of fleeing war-torn Saigon, reconciles her own refugee experience while rehabilitating the displaced Kurdish people.
Catherine, a surgeon in Afghanistan, reflects on the journeys of the remarkable women who paved the way for her own experience as a modern military doctor. In these stories of revelation, loss, struggle and kinship; moments of hope and humour punctuate the otherwise harrowing task of conflict medicine.
Written and researched over two years by Carolyn Bock and Helen Hopkins, The Shift Theatre brings together an ensemble cast and creative team under the direction of Catherine Hill.