A WORLD premiere at the Old Mill Theatre this September explores what happens when three soldiers meet a year after World War I ends.
Written by Noel O’Neill and directed by Valerie Dragojevic, Armistice Day sees the ex-soldiers coming together on November 11, 1919 – only to discover the price of peace is far too high.
“Post-traumatic stress disorder is an important issue to talk about and bring awareness to,” Dragojevic said.
“It’s as relevant today as it was 100 years ago but now we have a name for it.
“The main challenge with Armistice Day is making it believable – how do you even begin to understand what war is like when you’ve never experienced it and then do justice to those who have?”
Performing since her high school days at John Curtin College of the Arts, Dragojevic studied theatre and drama at Murdoch University and has spent the past 12 years as an actor, stage manager and director.
Highlights include Spaghetti From Graceland, Confetti From Graceland and Bus Stop at KADS Theatre, The Tangled Webs We Weave at Rechabites Hall, Born Yesterday at the Old Mill Theatre and directing Holly and Ivy, winner of best play at the 2007 South West Drama Festival and part of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
In 2013, Dragojevic brought O’Neill’s Snow and Ash to life, winning several awards at Dramafest, the annual state drama competition – and achieved a similar feat with O’Neill’s It’s All Greek To Me last year, receiving recognition for best director and best production at the Milly Awards.
Earlier this year, she also worked as assistant director and appeared in O’Neill’s comedy about nuns, Hail Mary.
“My involvement with Armistice Day came about when Noel basically said ‘I’m in Europe – you gotta direct my play!’” Dragojevic said.
Joining Armistice Day for the Old Mill Theatre’s season of short plays is Dolls From The Sky by Yvette Wall.
Directed by Mary Wolfla, Dolls From The Sky ponders whether the war is really over as a Polish migrant works as housekeeper for an Australian ex-serviceman, visited by local parishioners who cause tensions to rise as truths are revealed.
Armistice Day and Dolls From The Sky play at 8pm September 2, 3, 4 and 5 under the collective title “An Anzac Duo”. All tickets are $20 – book at http://oldmilltheatre.com.au/tickets or on (08) 9367 8719.
The short play season is the fifth in a year of all-Australian plays at the Old Mill Theatre to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landing in 2015.
The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).
armistice1: Travis McCurry, left, Phil Barnett and David Partridge are appearing in the world premiere of Armistice Day this September.
armistice2: Three returned soldiers, played by Phil Barnett, left, Travis McCurry and David Partridge, find the horrors of World War I still haunt them a year after peace is declared in Armistice Day.
armistice3: Demons rage within three ex-soldiers a year after World War I’s end in Armistice Day, as played by David Partridge, left, Phil Barnett and Travis McCurry.
armistice4: Tempers flare between Mick (David Partridge, ground) and Davey (Phil Barnett) in Armistice Day at the Old Mill Theatre.
Old Mill Theatre
South Perth's Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to be operating out of one of the most historic buildings in South Perth. It was opened in 1899 as a Mechanics' Institute Hall. The South Perth Council purchased the building in 1913 and renamed it the Mends Street Hall. The council still owns the building, and supports our use of it.
The building first became a home of theatre in 1948, when the South Perth Dramatic Society moved in. The name Old Mill Theatre was first used in 1958, and the company was incorporated in 1959. In 2009, the theatre celebrated its 60th anniversary.
A number of significant changes to the building have occurred over the past few years, with major extensions completed in 2002. An understage tunnel, which links two backstage dressing rooms and enables easier access from one side of the stage to the other, was completed in 2008. Bathroom facilities have also been installed backstage as part of this project, which was wholly self-funded.
The Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to have strong support from its local council, the City of South Perth. The city undertook major renovations to the exterior of the building in 2008 and the theatre is looking better now than ever before.
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