Play set to make Waves in Hawick

The story of how a woman in 1930s Australia invented the butterfly stroke is coming to life on the stage at Heart of Hawick on Tuesday, October 19.

By Kevin Janiak
Friday, 8th October 2021, 12:55 pm
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 12:55 pm
Waves appears in Heart of Hawick on Tuesday, October 19.
Waves appears in Heart of Hawick on Tuesday, October 19.

‘Waves’ is the fictional tale of Elizabeth Moncello, a daughter of immigrants growing up on Gabo Island who taught herself to swim by emulating fish, penguins and dolphins.

In the story, she later went on to gain fame as the unofficial inventor of the butterfly stroke.

Combining storytelling, movement, and splashes of humour, Waves is about having the courage, desire and determination to swim against the tide of expectation. An extraordinary tale of a life fully lived.

Written by actor and theatre-maker, Alice Mary Cooper, it started life as a short story she wrote for the French magazine Jean Marie.

Influenced by her own love of swimming and by doing laps in a pool named ‘The Fanny Durack’ in her hometown of Sydney, Waves celebrates the pioneering female Australian swimmers of the early 1900s.

Although it is purely fictional, people like Elizabeth existed, but were not recorded by history’s grand narrative.

Based on the original direction by Gill Robertson, this much-acclaimed solo theatre work will be directed by associate director Laila Noble.

Both she and Alice Mary Cooper are two of the Edinburgh Lyceum’s L20 artists, its artist attachment programme to spark new creative collaborations.

For this tour, Independent Arts Projects are delighted to welcome Kerry Cleland, who will be sharing the role with Alice Mary Cooper.

Kerry, who has also just finished a summer tour of ‘Mess;’, a show for childred with complex additional support needs, by Tenterhooks Theatre, said: “I’m delighted to join the Waves tour and feel very lucky to be given the chance to tell this wonderful story.”

Waves has been described as a “funny, moving, absorbing and intimate theatrical event” and is suitable for adults and children aged eight and over.

The performance is supported by Live Borders, Heart of Hawick and Independent Arts Projects.

Heart of Hawick’s Café Bar will open from 6.30pm, with the show starting at 7.30. #

To book your tickets visit