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Manning the Fort

Presented by Tantrum Youth Arts in partnership with The Flipside Project, Catapult Dance Inc.

“We did a good job, the girls, we really did. Everyone thought we were marvellous, the way we coped. It's amazing what you can do, even if you've never had any training. I thought when I came back things would be different. But you know what men are like, they didn't even want women taking their jobs, even though we did the jobs better than the men did half the time. I was a Sergeant at Fort Scratchley, but after the war I went home, and life went on just the same. But I was a Gun-Sergeant. If I'd been able to go to Canberra for Officer Training, I'd have had quite a high rank by now.”
- Dorothy McDonnell (nee Tutt), aged 93, interviewed by Amy Hardingham 2015.


The third installment in our trilogy of successful site-specific, participatory theatrical productions bringing to life the hidden stories from Newcastle's history, Manning the Fort activates key historic site, Fort Scratchley.

The inspiration for the work is the members of the Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) who “manned” Fort Scratchley during WW2, looking out for enemy vessels and enjoying freedom from the gender expectations of the day.
In the same way our award-winning productions Diving off the Edge of the World and Stories in Our Steps used local history and memories of real events as stimulus for a number of diverse works created by different artists in collaboration with young people, the memories of the AWAS have inspired a range of cross-artform performances which will be staged across the Fort Scratchley site.
Tantrum's unique style of “performative place-making” brings together ex-Servicewomen, local historians with dozens of young people, emerging and professional artists to interpret Newcastle's history in a way that will captivate audiences across generations. The project will be complemented by a display curated by the Fort Scratchley Historical Society.

Performances Details
Fort Scratchley, Nobby’s Road, Newcastle East
Thursday 20 October, 8pm
Friday 21st October, 8pm
Saturday 22nd October, 8pm
Thursday 27th October, 8pm
Friday 28th October, 8pm
Saturday 29th October, 8pm

Duration: 90 minutes
Tickets: $20 child/concession, $30 adult
Ticket price includes GST. Service Fees and transactions may apply.

All tickets must be purchased in advance from Ticketek - either online through Ticketek , or in person at the Civic Box Office or any Ticketek outlet, or by phoning 4929 1977.

Please wear comfortable shoes as this performance involves walking between multiple sites.
Please note that Fort Scratchley can be windy at night so wear warm clothes.
Limited seating will be available at each performance site.

Weather provisions: In case of possible or light showers, the show will go ahead, so please bring a raincoat. If this is of particular concern for you, please contact us on 49 297 279 or In case of heavy rain, the show will be cancelled and we contact you to reallocate your tickets.