The Life of Eileen

Shed 11, Wellington

23/02/2006 - 28/02/2006

NZ Fringe Festival 2006

Production Details

Devised, directed and performed by Dawn Strindberg


Trapeze, theatre and dance illustrate one woman’s remarkable true story of courage, hope, love and defeat. Mother of six. Husband cheated, stole and put her in a mental institution. She always stopped to smell the roses.  An inspiring, powerful, emotionally moving experience.

Theatre , Cirque-aerial-theatre , Dance-theatre , Solo ,

1 hr

Creative and powerful

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 25th Feb 2006

In Shed 11, The Life Of Eileen is one of many is one of many solo pieces in this year’s Fringe, but one different to most. It’s done for the most part on two trapeze swings.  Performed by Dawn Strindberg, a trained dancer and circus artist, it tells the story of her grandmother Eileen Gertrude Strindberg (nee Winter) growing up in Australia through the middle of last century. 

In an abusive relationship trying to raise six kids, she struggles and survives, including spending time in a mental institute, but always looking on the bright side, always stopping to smell the roses, that is until in her later life one of her boys commits suicide.  A common enough story but one which is uniquely the performer’s, not only because of its truth and honesty but by the way it is performed. 

Using the large space of Shed 11 to great effect, Strindberg uses her physical agility to great effect to tell her grandmothers story, especially on the trapeze swingers, the very graphic portrayal of being raped by her estranged husband when she was pregnant just one example of the many creative and powerful pieces of choreography.


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