Your guide to events in Nelson, New Zealand
Thursday 18th-Saturday 20th July 2019
Ettie Rout was a journalist, campaigner and safe sex pioneer during the first world war. Against government backing she recruited a group of women to work alongside the troops in Egypt and it was through that work that she discovered the extremely high rate of VD cases amongst the New Zealand troops (20%).
She then set about designing and producing an early treatment kit for soldiers to carry in their kit bag, but the authorities, the army and the people at home could not accept this move towards making "vice safe". Ettie had no sympathy for the “moral tangles” back home. She saw the whole issue of VD as a medical issue not a spiritual one.
The play does not try to make a heroine of Ettie, though there is no doubt now that she had the right idea. In an interview with H G Wells, Ettie said of herself, "it's a mixed blessing to be born too soon."
We will be trying to portray the dilemma and distress caused by the issues from both sides, the dehumanizing effect of war and the political and social issues in context.