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War story performance for Dunedin Fringe Festival

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"I know now that the most evil thing you can do in the world, is to discriminate against someone because of their race or religion!" - Phyllis Garvin in I’ll Tell You This for Nothing - My Mother the War Hero.

This quote lies at the heart of this powerful WWII story about a QA nursing sister. Sadly it is reverberating here now in Aotearoa, this tale even more relevant to our lives.

At the age of 87 Phyllis JasonSmith, an Irish woman who lived most of her life in New Zealand, was awarded France’s highest accolade for exceptional courage - the Legion d'Honneur.

A nurse with the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps, on D-Day Phyllis was sent to the Front Line in France. Her hospital followed the battles through Europe, and when the war ended she was sent to nurse in the liberation of one of the most infamous Nazi Camps.

Amidst this drama Phyllis found the love of her life. When peace arrived she and her husband emigrated to New Zealand and settled in the small village of Pukerua Bay near Wellington. She retired to Coastal Villas in Paraparaumu, where she spent the last 10 years of her life. A great storyteller, Phyllis was often interviewed for radio and print.

Phyllis’s WWII tale of war, courage, romance and danger is brought to life in an acclaimed 65 minute solo performance written and acted by her daughter Kate JasonSmith.

"I’ll Tell You This for Nothing has so many things going for it, it’s hard for a reviewer to know where to start. First up, it’s a tremendous story ... a balance between personal experience and the larger historical events through which Phyllis moves. ... Versatile, skilled and charismatic, Kate

JasonSmith’s performance is a mighty achievement in its own right." Tim Stevenson, Theatreview Kate herself grew up in Pukerua Bay, then went on to an extensive career in the performing arts.

Her skills have encompassed acting, directing, writing and set design - around the world - including a stint at the Fortune Theatre in Dunedin in 1976. She may be best known in New Zealand as the creator and producer of the iconic women’s comedy company Hens’ Teeth.

Jan Bolwell, an acclaimed solo performer herself (Bill Massey’s Tourists, Standing on My Hands, Here’s Hilda) and well known to Dunedin audiences, has directed this highly praised play. 

I’ll Tell You This for Nothing - My Mother the War Hero has been invited to perform at the Assembly in Edinburgh for a 3 week Fringe Festival 2019 season.

"A quite memorable evening in the theatre...this finely etched and deeply felt story. Packed with meticulous research, but seldom didactic, your work held the audience from start to finish. ... Stunning!" Ralph McAlister

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