Press Release  


Four women. Many stories. A century of service.

Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Army @ The Fringe in association with Summerhall

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 a fine ensemble cast and creative team under the direction of Catherine Hill.

“Superb performances, an outstanding ensemble…”

“This is first class storytelling.”


“The actors give powerful and honest performances.”

Stage Whispers

This is top class performance based on thrilling fact. Not to be missed.”

The Plus Ones


Founded in 2009 by Carolyn Bock and Helen Hopkins, The Shift Theatre is focused on presenting dynamic works with strong roles for women, both from existing texts and in the development of new works.

Hallowed Ground – Women Doctors in Waris their second collaboration as writers and was initially supported during research and development by the ANZAC Centenary Arts and Culture Fund and presented as a work in progress at La Mama Explorations in 2016.

Their first work The Girls in Grey enjoyed a three-year touring life. After a special presentation at The Australian War Memorial and premiere season at La Mama Melbourne in 2018, Hallowed Ground – Women Doctors in War performed at Adelaide Fringe 2019 and toured Victoria in June.


Written by Carolyn Bock and Helen Hopkins
Directed by Catherine Hill
Performed by Carolyn Bock, Verity Charlton, Helen Hopkins and Chi Nguyen
Set design by Meg White
Lighting design by Richard Vabre  
Sound design by Abe Pogos
Production Manager Rebecca Etchell


Dates: 13th – 25th August 2019 (not 19th)
Time: 5.20pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Venue: V210, Army@The Fringe Drill Hall
89 East Claremont St
Tickets: £10/£8
Bookings: 0131 560 1581 |


Helen Hopkins +61407 8786 813
Carolyn Bock +61417 575 361

View Hallowed Ground‘s show page on our website