Halcyon days on stage for Pixie O'Harris' daughter

Older Women's Network Theatre Group's Don't Knock Your Granny at Adelaide Fringe

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DON'T KNOCK IT: The Older Women's Theatre Network group the Feisty Women of Oz.

DON'T KNOCK IT: The Older Women's Theatre Network group the Feisty Women of Oz.

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Creativity is in the blood for Halcyon Evans as she joins the Feisty Women of Oz for their Adelaide Fringe debut of the hit cabaret show Don't Knock Your Granny.

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AS the daughter of one of Australia's most loved and iconic storytellers and illustrators, it's no surprise Halcyon Evans is the creative type.

Like her mother Pixie O'Harris, Halcyon became a commercial artist herself, before working in welfare. Throughout her life the 88-year-old has loved being on stage and has been involved with amateur dramatics groups.

"Growing up there was always paint and brushes around the house and I also always liked acting," she said.

So when the chance came to join the Older Women's Theatre Network in 2008, Halcyon, who lives in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood, jumped at the chance.

"When I first saw them perform I thought they were marvellous," she said.

ENTHUSIASTIC: Halcyon Evans, who turns 89 this month, is the oldest member of the all-female theatre troupe.

ENTHUSIASTIC: Halcyon Evans, who turns 89 this month, is the oldest member of the all-female theatre troupe.

The all-female troupe - also known as the Fiesty Women of Oz - is bringing its Don't Knock Your Granny show to this year's Adelaide Fringe Festival.

This is the first time the group has taken the cabaret-style show to Adelaide in its 32-year performing history and comes fresh from a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

It explores stories of elder abuse and myths of growing older through original lyrics, puppets and skits.

Halcyon - who is the gang's oldest member - describes being in the group as "good fun, hard work and so special to be a part of a great group of women".

"I sing with the group and also perform a monologue about an older woman who has survived Auschwitz."

While being entertaining, the show has an important message.

"There are several forms of abuse of older people - emotional, physical, neglect or psychological," she said. "I hope our show gets the message across in an entertaining way."

While Halcyon said the rehearsal schedule is tough, she keeps fit at the local seniors gym and by doing qigong. Age doesn't come into it when she's performing.

BRUSH WITH FAME: Halcyon at an exhibition of her mother Pixie O'Harris' work in Taree with Janine Roberts, who was instrumental in bringing the exhibition together. Photo: Julie Slavin

BRUSH WITH FAME: Halcyon at an exhibition of her mother Pixie O'Harris' work in Taree with Janine Roberts, who was instrumental in bringing the exhibition together. Photo: Julie Slavin

"It's almost like doing a workout at the gym doing a rehearsal," she said. "But you're never too old to do what you love and get up on stage."

Show director Ruth Thompson describes the group as a "bunch of ordinary women with an extraordinary message".

  • Don't Knock Your Granny, at Bakehouse Theatre, March 12-14, 2pm. Tickets, phone 1300-621-255, adelaidefringe.com.au

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