News Release

REF NO.: 22

SUBJECT: PSA: First World War: Dancing on the Home Front

DATE: October 1, 2015

Memorial University Libraries’ Check it Out: Celebrating Culture at the Queen Elizabeth II Library is presenting First World War: Dancing on the Home Front as part of its free public lecture series.

Amy Bowring, director of Toronto-based Collections and Research at Dance Collection Danse, will discuss her research on a group of women entertainers who used dance, tableau, music and recitation to boost morale on the home front and support the war effort.

“With the centenary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel approaching, I was curious to know more about how patriotic performances played a role in the war effort,” she said. “There are so many examples of this kind of fundraising through dance in other parts of Canada so I was sure it was happening in a centre like St. John’s as well.”

Inspired by a 1916 photocopy of The Distaff, a publication produced by the Women’s Patriotic Association of Newfoundland, Ms. Bowring began a search to discover more about the women who didn’t knit socks or make bandages, but instead put off amateur theatre.

Ms. Bowring is well-known in the national dance community for her knowledge of preservation techniques and her advocacy efforts on the issue of dance heritage. She is the founder of the Canadian Society for Dance Studies and a sessional instructor at Ryerson University’s Theatre School where she teaches dance history.

The event will also feature the innovative digital humanities project undertaken by Memorial University Libraries to showcase the diverse collections and resources highlighting Newfoundland’s role in the Great War and to profile some gems of the performing arts in Newfoundland during the First World War held by the Archives and Special Collections division.

            The event takes place on Monday, Oct. 5, at 6 p.m. in the Queen Elizabeth II Library, on the third floor.

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