With MC Mark “the poet” Raffills
Sunday 14th August, 7pm
Riverside Centre (Rangimarie Hall)
A theatrical debate about war & all its greatness.
In a gREAT rAW, voices of the ancestors come together to question the greatness of World War 1 and uncover the raw intergenerational trauma that was gruesomely brought about, not so long ago!
Set to uncover some of the hiStories of WW1, a gREAT rAW entails one actor playing seven roles, using clown, bouffon, music & multiple masks.
This theatre performance is inspired by conscientious objector & farmer Archibald Baxter (father of poet James K. Baxter), who wrote his wartime experience in the book "we will not cease".
Archibald Baxter was one of 14 anti-militarists forcibly transported from New Zealand to the front lines of World War 1 for refusing to submit to conscription. By transporting the men to the western front and subjecting them to military punishment, the NZ government hoped to break their resolve, forcing them into active service and using their submissions as a warning that opposition to the war would not be tolerated. Baxter however would not be swayed.
Despite extended periods of Field Punishment #, a punishment that saw the victim tired to a post with the body’s weight supported by his arms alone, Baxter refused to be involved in this industrial slaughter. He insisted that just because “the imperialists and financiers had fallen out was no reason why the workers should be led into war to blow the souls out of each other.” Near the end of the war, Baxter was transported back to New Zealand where he remained a staunch peace advocate until his death in 1970.
The founders of Riverside were greatly influenced & motivated by Archibald Baxter and other conscientious objectors’ courageous examples of standing up for peace.
How will you stand for peace?