On the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that plagued New Zealand, THEA 301 and director Kerryn Palmer present: Black November 1918. Following the end of World War Oneand in the wake of celebrating our soldiers return – New Zealand was confronted with the most lethal disease outbreak we have ever seen, an estimated 9000 New Zeal
anders died in two months.
“Flicking through old family photos, I found a haunting photo of my Grandfather and his 8 siblings. Their parents had died within two days of each other at the height of the 1918 influenza pandemic. The more I began talking and reading about what had happened to my family, the more I realised that many people didn’t even know that New Zealand had experienced such a catastrophic event. An event that brought the country to its knees.” – Director Kerryn Palmer.
Influenced by family stories, verbatim accounts, the 2013 BATS STAB production Pandemic, and detailed research, Black November 1918’s promenade-style, devised performance, delves into the homes and lives of ordinary Wellingtonians affected by the flu, and confronts the audience with the potential impact a modern day flu pandemic would have on 2018 New Zealand.
“Most of the soldiers died lonely deaths on foreign battlefields, but the flu was fought here at home, in every town and in at least half of all households. This was a crucible of shared experience for a young nation. It should not be forgotten, in case something similar ever happens again.” – Dr. Geoffrey Rice. Black November – The 1918 Influenza Pandemic In New Zealand.