Letters and diaries of Australian war nurses inspire play

THE letters and diaries of Australian army nurses who served during the First World War are the basis of Through These Lines, an original play by Sydney actor/writer Cheryl Ward.

The play follows the four-year journey of Sister Florence Whiting (played by Kate Skinner), from her departure on the troopship Kyarra to tours of duty in the Dardanelles, Lemnos, Egypt, France and the casualty clearing stations of the Western Front.

HEROIC FIGURE: Kate Skinner as Sister Florence Whiting.
HEROIC FIGURE: Kate Skinner as Sister Florence Whiting.

For writer/actor/producer Cheryl Ward, this project that began its life as a site-specific production at the Munitions Tunnels at Headland Park, Middle Head on Sydney Harbour in 2010, where all performances were sold out.

In the four years since then, she has undertaken further research in Australia, the UK and Europe, and rewritten and workshopped the script to shape the passionate and exhilarating play which regional centres in NSW will be fortunate to experience this year.

Through These Lines is part of the NSW Centenary of Anzac, Federal Government 100 Years of Anzac and Imperial War Museum First World War Centenary program.

Cheryl Ward and producer partner Paul Whiteley of TurnAround Productions, have assembled a team of theatre professionals to bring this story to life:


Mary-Anne Gifford (Director):

Mary-Anne She has worked extensively both in Australia and overseas, for such companies as the Sydney Theatre Company and The Hanoi Youth Theatre, Vietnam.


Kate Skinner (Sister Florence Whiting): Kate is a graduate of Theatre Nepean. Her theatre credits span both Sydney and London and she has also appeared regularly in film and TV projects including Home & Away and is currently in post-production for her first short documentary film after being awarded the Metroscreen Jumpstart Grant.


Cheryl Ward (Writer; Matron Ada Watson et al): Cheryl studied with acclaimed Australian actor Lionel Long before being accepted into the Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles. In an extensive acting career she has performed in over 30 theatre shows, most recently the critically acclaimed revival of Top Girls (New Theatre). Through These Lines is her first play as a writer.


Rebecca Barbera (Sister Mary Douglas et al): Growing up in Perth, Rebecca performed in productions including Sweet Charity and To Kill A Mockingbird before being accepted into the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 2009, where she performed in Not I, The House of Bernarda Alba, Twelfth Night and Port directed by Kristine Landon-Smith. Rebecca was most recently seen the acclaimed 2013 revival of Rooted.


Gareth Rickards (Lt William Davies et al): Gareth trained at Theatre Nepean and since graduating in 2005, has been an active participant in the Sydney theatre scene. For television, Gareth has appeared in guest roles on Home and Away, Wonderland and the Emmy-award winning HBO series The Pacific.


Gary Clementson (Captain McLean et al): Gary spent his formative years in Perth, Western Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Acting from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and has recently returned from study at The Atlantic Acting School in New York. He is a versatile performer, appearing across theatre, music theatre and opera, most recently The Chimney Sweep (Pinchgut Opera). Gary is involved in the development and workshopping of new Australian theatre and in 2013 made his film debut in the documentary Leeton: The Formative Years, which combined his passion for colonial Australian history and love of screen acting.


Christian Charisiou (Private Harold Jenkins et al): Christian was born and raised in Melbourne, and started his career at a young age, with guest roles on Neighbours and Blue Heelers during his teen years. Upon completing his HSC in 2009 Christian was accepted into the inaugural Actor/Musical Theatre Degree course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), graduating in 2013. Productions at NIDA included Woyzeck, Cloud Nine, Othello and Sunday in the Park with George.


Lismore City Hall, Lismore 20 August. For bookings visit lismorecityhall.com.au or call 1300 066772

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