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Summer Camps

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in [00:00:04] summer camps is a verbatim show that is about secretly spring summer camps that were held outside of questions in Wellington in the late 70s. And early 80s, set up by a collective of women, who were quite a few of them are actually living together across a couple of houses and Crusher. And they had been spurred on by women traveling from the States and Britain, I believe, is that right? Jesus [00:00:39] had, [00:00:41] had attended sort of similar types of, of things. And there was just a lot of kind of [00:00:48] political [00:00:51] activism and things happening at the time, I'm very conscious kind of groups forming, and doing a lot of work for women, [00:01:04] for lesbian women for, like gay people, generally. And also for children as well, like this really incredible kind of amount of work that a lot of these women were involved in their lives were kind of [00:01:20] pretty hectic and [00:01:23] busy, and a lot of stuff was had, that they were dealing with day to day. And so the idea of having a summer camp, as a place to go as a bit of a refuge was very appealing, and some way that they could celebrate the themselves and their sexuality and explore some of that as well. together and in a space where they didn't have to explain who they were, or hide who they were, [00:01:55] for a week. [00:02:00] What [00:02:03] what what, like what made you interested in and kind of spurred you on to want to be part of this project. [00:02:12] I'm Courtney. [00:02:14] I went to the actives, and I'm co doing publicity. And this is being just as baby for a while and I heard about it last year. And just just hearing just talk about it was really exciting. [00:02:33] Cuz I don't know too much about history, or [00:02:40] really [00:02:42] just little bits here and there and I hadn't [00:02:45] looked into much myself. So it's exciting to be thrown into a project that has been going on for a few [00:02:53] years. And [00:02:57] not having to lead out which is quite nice. Our and [00:03:02] just say the word communication that Jason Sabrina and alone and her does have done with the interviews and creating less. And it's just really, I really, I'm a real fan of verbatim theatre. [00:03:20] Because [00:03:24] it's just the insight you get, because it's the truth in that moment, even though the retelling stories, and they may want to paint themselves in a certain light and they may pay it's good over some stuff. It's, it's better than what you will get us imagining what it was like. And so it's really good having that insight and part of the show, we've got a little bit of recording of what it's like now to be young and queer. [00:03:57] And it's really nice, because it's, I could taste of a conversation between the older these fans and sort of our viewpoints. And just, it's really nice to see the change. And [00:04:12] like 40 years or so [00:04:15] just how much has changed this hangovers of some things that just these women fighting so hard to have any space. And now there's almost we talked about how this like freedom to almost in on the fence for a lot of debates, because [00:04:38] they've done a lot of the groundwork, and we've sort of spreading out so what, what we can go for like non binary and trains and six and a lot broader than what they were thinking about. because there wasn't even like space for lesbians. But now we're [00:04:54] working towards having spaces for everyone. And so it's it's really interesting, really like a real Joe to have that. The interviews because there's a lot of stuff I didn't know. It's quite funny. And it's nice, because you hear not only just [00:05:12] pots of history, but also just their personal experiences and relationships and leaving husbands and children and just that struggle and how our struggles are different now. [00:05:26] Yeah, I think that's it. [00:05:29] What drew [00:05:30] you to this project dying? [00:05:35] I'm aligned. And I'm an actor for the show and doing a bit of purpose, publicity. What drew me to the project? Well, I have been watching just want to do this show for ages. And I've heard about it for very long time. And I remember all cuz I was there when she first found out about the camps. And we did see, which was another documentary theater, clear peace. And so it's been it's been a long time coming. And it's tons of part of New Zealand history that I just really wanted to know about. And I think is very interesting. So the idea of actually getting to learn about it. And for real, having actual interviews. And it's not just a hypothetical now, like being able to do whatever I can to help it get it to the stage is what drew me to the project. [00:06:24] Yeah. [00:06:26] Bethany. So in the summer camps, back then there was a lot of hair plotting. It's a lot of chanting, there's a lot of vegetarian cook. If you were to make a summer camp for today, what kind of activities would you have on your summer camp? [00:06:45] Wow. [00:06:47] Elaine, that is such a great question. I'm Bethany, and [00:06:52] I am the producer, I, [00:06:54] firstly, I just want to say that it is an absolute privilege to be part of this. [00:07:02] I was so I wasn't sure if I had any capacity to be part of another show. And then I had this wonderful Skype with Jesus. [00:07:13] And I [00:07:17] was quite sort of giddy with warmth and excitement about how special this part of history was, that we need to know about and how special this project is that talks about it. And I thought, Gosh, I have to be part of this, I have to be part of this. Also, the collective just sounded like such a beautiful space to be part of as well, this collective that we've created called Camp that way. And I wanted to, I guess, partake in it and contribute to that into this beautiful, kind of empowering and super supportive space. And to answer your Christian lame, [00:08:01] if I was to [00:08:05] create my own summer camp, in today's [00:08:09] time, [00:08:10] I they would have to be a lot of music, everyone would have to bring an instrument or a makeshift instrument and if not, they would have to create the instrument when getting there and they would be a lot of like, an instrument creating decisions and then music making decisions. And there's they'd be some recording sis up so that people can record music or blogs, blogs, or blogs, we could do some blogs actually. [00:08:44] And just talk about you know, chicken talk about how they going [00:08:48] I've never been to any of the [00:08:52] rainbow. I don't know if anyone's heard about that. But this these camps have something up north that we're had the sort of hippie vibes and they sound amazing and many ways and I guess, you know, just nice vibes like that, for one being just super supportive of each other. If anyone's having a rough time, people just surrounding that person and bringing them on. I think what else is great in a camp he played in sounds cool, and lots of swimming. [00:09:24] Lots of swimming, and at and all and lots and lots of dancing, but not like you know freestyle dancing but also just like old fashioned dancing as well. Like, you know, [00:09:39] like art deco. Lindy Hop, that would be great and lots of dressing up. [00:09:47] And you'd have to bring lots of costumes with you. But then again, if you don't bring costumes, makeshift costumes, everything makeshift. [00:09:55] And lots of eating as well and lots and lots of dumpster diving. [00:09:59] And being resourceful cuz I like being resourceful [00:10:02] way anyone who doesn't know. [00:10:06] That would be my ideal Kim [00:10:10] 2020 [00:10:14] Oh, hi, Monica. [00:10:18] Oh, [00:10:20] what? [00:10:22] The finest things that you've learnt and this process. [00:10:30] Thank you for listening. [00:10:33] I'm Annika I'm one of the actors. And yeah, I think there's a lot of things that I've I've learned over time. But I think one of the biggest ones is I think we you forget how similar things were, then to how things are now even though a lot of things have changed. A lot of the things that were talked about back then, and still talked about today, I'm trying think of specific examples. But I think better than just things that we talk about how people feel is so timeless, and how these women came to discover who they were, I think it's just so relatable in a way that I just don't think I expected. [00:11:22] And I think that [00:11:26] anyone who comes to see the show will also be able to feel that as well. Because [00:11:30] Yeah, these women's stories [00:11:33] are just so wonderful to listen to. [00:11:38] So I think that's probably one of the biggest things that I've learned. [00:11:42] But then also things that were different. Like, I used to live and delete, and a few years ago, and one of the people we interviewed talked about thinking that [00:11:59] that she the person she was in a relationship with were the only lesbians Indonesian. [00:12:05] Because they didn't know of any other lesbians and, and, and just thinking, wow, yeah, that's definitely not possible anymore. And so that's, that's kind of nice [00:12:15] as well to, to [00:12:18] feel like, there is progress in the world. So I guess, yeah, finding the differences, and the similarities is probably [00:12:26] what I've learnt. Um, my question for Chase, [00:12:32] Chase as Russia, I'm [00:12:36] tending interviews into a verbatim play. Sounds really, really difficult. [00:12:44] Can you [00:12:44] walk us through a bit of your process and doing that? [00:12:49] Thanks very much, Anika. My name is Jace, or a lot of people know me as you get bigger. I am the writer. I've coordinated the interviews for the summer camps, probation projects, and I am also acting and the show as well. Walk through the process of doing verbatim verbatim is something that I studied at attacker university with still young and Hillary Alba shout out to them, they're really cool. And I told me what I know. And I really fell in love with the form them as a way of getting ground level interaction and representation to minority groups I thought was really empowering about verbatim. And that's what I liked about it is using cheap, affordable technology, and going straight to the source to get stories. So that's what really drew me to it. [00:13:43] And that's kind of part of the process for me is just trying to do that as well. In terms of going and actually just meeting with these women and interviews did not happen. We didn't just schedule a time to go meet someone and then do an interview, we you know, meet up for coffee or have lunch and dinner, we went to a women's dance, which was quite fun, went to at least be in her story display, and did a whole bunch of things, just getting to know people before actually getting into the stage where we interview them. So when you finally have that interview, and you sit down and listen to it, you feel like you already have a sense of a little more sense of who these people are, because you've gone through that process of getting to know them. So what I would do is just listen to the interview again, and again. And again. And again, I would just put it on while I did cleaning I'd put on on what I played a video game or something else, and listen to them over and over. And it got to the stage where I guess I [00:14:44] felt like I was still there. And still with them. Even though the interviews happened, like, you know, weeks beforehand, I was still listening to them all the time that they were so fresh in my mind. And then after that began to try and get an idea of what are some of the cracks as of the stories that they're telling what is you know, at the heart of what they're trying to convey, there are loads of intricacies that will just not be able to make it into the actual play itself, but listening to it enough that you try to get a feel for the field for the general thrust of what they're talking about. And then going with that and transcribing and transcribing takes for ever, it is a long process. But just doing that just going bit by bit by bit and writing it all out. And then looking at the bulk of transcript transcription and breaking it apart and ordering it and different scenes and so on. And trying to find common threads that sort of weave it through. It's tricky, because you still have to work on building like a dramatic arc, and, you know, all these sorts of things, and strongly of character and all you know, all the other stuff that you would do when you know writing a play. But you know, trying to keep that central truth that still there. I guess going back to that empowering minority voices, something that I think is core throughout the writing process, is trying to find ways to speak with the people that you have interviewed rather than for them. So, you know, when you're trying to find that central thrust to what you're writing, you're not just thinking of just the interview material itself, you're thinking of the people that you've actually gone out and meet with and spoken with. And, and things that they might have said afterwards, because people came in touch after an interview and think, oh, gosh, I really should have said this or whatever. And that gives you a better sense of what they really want the piece to say. And yeah, yeah, doing that. [00:16:53] So at the end of your media release for this production, you've got a really interesting sentence which see is today in a time when politically and socially, there is so much division infighting between different perspectives, someone camps as an attempt to reinvent the same sense of solidarity, friendship, and beauty of the original camps. Can you speak about some of the kind of political and social divisions that are currently happening? And how do summer camps from the 70s? Speak? Speak to us now? [00:17:28] I'm Sabrina, I'm the director. And I feel like I want everyone to answer this question with me is is a really, really hard. [00:17:37] Okay, so this division is one of the [00:17:44] places where there is there was there was division that can the time of the elders are speaking about was simply [00:17:53] if you were lesbian enough, where you bisexual, if you were there was a problem for some of these women. There was a lot of what do you call it? When it's like, you're the best lesbian, what's that phrase, gold stylist being [00:18:11] there was a lot of that going on. And there was, and also, one of the other things that we explore in the pie is that women would bring their children with them to the camps, and that was allowed, but some of the boy children were not very welcome. And they were children. And so those are sorts of divisions that they were talking about, then. And then subsequently, what we are finding is a difficult conversation to be sort of having with these elders that was spoken to is around them being upset that a lot of us claim to be queer, why can't we use the word lesbian? Why? Why are people not using that word, what. And so we discuss it in the play and what that means to us. And that's really different for different people. But there's just this really big sense of not necessarily wanting to be pinned into [00:19:10] have specific, like, [00:19:14] what's the word I want, like an eye identification or something for your sexuality, and that sexuality can be a lot more fluid through your life. And, and actually, by pulling, pulling yourself down, you really can restrict who, who you are or who you are becoming. And I know that that's a really personal thing for me. And, and so we do discuss it in the play. [00:19:41] So they do struggle, they have struggled with that, and we've talked about that in our interviews and things and meetings, and then we have also discussed, then there's also the sort of difficulty that they have found with including trans women. And the conversation. [00:20:01] They've talked about fighting for women only women spaces. And so that's that's sort of a some rhetoric theory as well, which we've struggled with, with people who are you know, like, 40 years our senior and, and that still exists, there are still pockets of, of women, and if lesbian women who believe that yeah, that those spaces shouldn't shouldn't exist for [00:20:29] for transforming, and we are, we're really struggle struggle with it. [00:20:38] We're talking to play again, about how [00:20:42] to, maybe some people feel that they need a space that's for women born women, but that for us, or for me, anyway, that that really doesn't sit right there are [00:20:57] for a white, this lesbian or woman [00:21:05] we're actually [00:21:06] like, a lot more privileged, and what what's this women and, and that those spaces that were being fought for, [00:21:15] to be lesbian and be out, [00:21:19] they can exist. [00:21:23] That's actually really not a huge fight anymore. And the spaces that we're fighting for now, I to include a non binary and transference and we're really [00:21:35] trying to create space for that. And [00:21:41] so that's where we're finding some of the, the difficulty and we're talking to play actually that like that the that our elders and that people that asked this, and white really should be, like putting the letter down and, and bring end and kind of helping the people, the people out in the rainbow community who actually need it the most, which is not for me anymore. [00:22:08] The woman that we interviewed actually made it really explicit to us that they would only do this project on the condition that we speak to being queer identified, they didn't want to just do a project that was exclusively about the lesbian summer camps. They said, We don't like and I'm using their phrasing, but they're like, we don't want to just hear about all dykes going on summer camp, because that's not relevant anymore. We want to hear from you, and the way that you identified because it is different. So if we're saying these things about there being a dissonance and that sort of stuff, well, part of the actual purpose of this project coming from our elders is that they actually want to hold a space because they do want to learn and they do want to hear from us. So it's not all just I'm not saying that you were being negative because you weren't at all, but it's it's it's really not just us initiating, and so it was pushed for quite a lot [00:23:03] by them as well. [00:23:05] And the interviews, arts, Courtney, again, [00:23:12] they talk about [00:23:15] this sort of [00:23:17] a specific perspective we are getting from the camps and specific people that was catered to. And they mentioned, there's not a lot of women of color, or working class woman. And that was because these camps are set up within their friendship groups. And [00:23:35] yeah, it was very white middle class, which is sort of carried over to who is mainly in this collective as well. So that's quite interesting. [00:23:46] That similarity? [00:23:50] And yeah, because I think like the camps costs and stuff in there, there was exclusion, because they were fighting for that space. But I think the difference [00:24:01] and our sort of framework is, [00:24:06] we're, yeah, just want to be a bit a little bit more open, because they've given us hit space. So we don't have to fight for it. But yeah, just wanted to touch on that working class thing. [00:24:19] I don't know, I don't really know how to gauge what we, but we're all University educated. [00:24:27] So it makes us middle class or whatever. [00:24:31] So we've had some specific [00:24:35] comments, and we're still we're still discussing terminology all the time as a queer community as a LGBT q A plus rainbow community. And we have we encounter in our lives and even in this project, people being upset still with the word queer, for example. So we're still having these conversations. [00:25:04] There seems to be a [00:25:09] instead of sort of coming together, and all sitting and discussing it, groups of people that are still kind of sitting in the corner, getting really upset about stuff, like, the term queer, for example, who like no, but I'm a lesbian. So it's like, we're almost gone back to this conversation from 40 years ago, this is currently happening, this has happened to us and athlete. And so [00:25:37] it's sort of [00:25:40] I think one of the interesting things that the show does is [00:25:43] we go [00:25:46] he was this amazing part of New Zealand history, that we don't know that we follow so much American stories about thing about banquet, and here's this, like, really New Zealand centric story at that these women and, and, and what they did and how they came together. [00:26:05] And we kind of use some of those, [00:26:11] the conversations that they were having, and reference them today, because those some of those conversations still still exist. And also, we acknowledge that we can have different opinions, and we are from different generations. [00:26:31] We have [00:26:31] had some people said, Well, why do you want to, like hear from a whole bunch of old dykes? You know, like, all these out there theaters, like something about, you know, that kind of, we've heard that kind of thing. And we kind of go, okay, yes. So there might be some stuff in there that we disagree with, or that we feel like we've moved on from that collecting that history is so important, and they still paved the way and whisk and like, we are still really I'm really grateful for that. And so by having this conversation, and actually literally talking to this older generation, we are effectively trying to bring a portion of the community together, and say, let's just actually talk and let's hear our differences, which we hope that people have more like a generation that do come and see the show will start to do start really listening to each other. And accepting that there's just such a huge spectrum of experience and of difference. [00:27:38] This is Annika again, I just wanted to add to that and the whole having a discussion and having a discussion as a collective. [00:27:47] We are also wanting to invite our audience to have that discussion with us. It is it is a very interactive piece, we we sort of want the audience to feel like they are there, us and after the show as well. We do want to open up a discussion on the things that we have been talking about in the play. So even though we have already had a discussion, we also really want to hear from our audience and what they have to say on the subject as well. [00:28:18] Something that's really inspired me, as someone witnessing the show from the outside. It's been really inspiring. Seeing how discussion and interviews among the collective that have also been recorded verbatim and weaved into the show which you've done an amazing job with Jesus, it's been really inspiring to see how some of these, these ideas of separatism have been explored, to find bridges and create bridge is and to find ways to meet in the middle and find ways to understand each other better. And I've been really inspired by what Jesus had to say about into sectional dialogue and the importance of coming together and building each other up and having each other's backs as anyone across the LG TV q A plus community. And I feel like that's one of the main things this project is about. I think, I think it's one of our sort of three purposes a our purposes are one, two, [00:29:45] to document, LG TV q i history in specifically lesbian, her story that is very unique and special to New Zealand via interviews, to archive those interviews and also to create spaces of discussion across the LGBT q plus community and intergenerational discussion. And that's Yeah, one of the most special things about this process. And it's been really inspiring, because, as Jason, as other people have said, [00:30:22] one of the things that spurred this project is the desire to connect without lesbian elders to connect with our LGBT Q. A plus out is who have paid paves the way who have created this safe space that we're in at the moment that we want to now make more safe and more diverse. And we are [00:30:48] so grateful for that. We want to explore that. And we want to find ways to make new progress. [00:30:57] Geez, I just really love what you have to say about I'm hearing from out, isn't it? Yeah. Can you can you talk about how you came to like, want to know about your query elders? [00:31:11] Yeah. [00:31:13] Okay, yeah, bigger history geek speaking now. [00:31:19] I've just always loved loved, loved, loved loved, LGBT q i a rainbow plus, plus, plus, history in general, it's just been, you know, a thing since I was a wee little baby queer way back in the day, I just, you know, ended up and I think it gave me a sense of, I was, you know, I think feeling like, you know, lonely is a little queer and thinking, oh, gosh, you know, this is so horrible. And, you know, you feel like the only person going through it if you're in like a small town or and, you know, small High School, whatever, reading about history and realizing Actually, there are so many people have gone through the exact same stuff and you're not just allowing you're a part of a people is so important to me, and part of why I love reading about our collective history. I think another thing is because and something I talked about a lot when I talk about this project is if you are born into any minority community, [00:32:24] you know, around the world you are usually born into, you know, you might call it like your, your guitar, or your your place. So, for example, I come from a Polish family. If you're born into a Polish family, you're probably born into a Polish, you know, village or a Polish, you know, part of a city or something like that you are born two poles and you're raised by poles, you have that immediate connection with your culture and your elders, if you are born, queer, or LGBT Q, if you're born rainbow, you can be born anywhere across society, and you don't necessarily have to connection with your elders. So there is this whole history that's out there, that you actually have to take an extra step to find which is quite unique to the rainbow community. So something that I'm really passionate about, and verbatim and and making rainbow queer LGBT q history is actually doing that step and recording it and going out and trying to meet people and, and facilitating that process of actually just meeting and being with your elders, which otherwise you wouldn't get to do so the whole purpose of this show is also a framework just to be able to meet with the people that we come from and talk to them. [00:33:46] I just wanted to say if this can be to anyone who wants to jump in, if you could actually visit the original camps and witness one thing, what would you want to go back and say, [00:34:00] for the [00:34:00] record, everyone is sticking the handout. I'm going to give it to a line because I saw her first but I'm a consumer afterwards [00:34:07] giving it to me because I'm the most special um I would like to see something that actually got isn't in the show but so I just feel like people need to know about it. And so this is how people can know about it is that there was a lesbian circus that they created a circus they had like a circus on in their lesbian camp with like a naked woman run riding a horse, like doing tricks, and I just I just feel like no one will know if I don't tell them that there was a lesbian circus. I would like to see the lesbian circus. Thank you. [00:34:36] I would also like to see the naked pyramid. [00:34:43] That was oh, [00:34:46] I was also going to say the pyramid [00:34:52] naked woman or half naked woman and the water doing pyramids [00:35:00] wasn't eight on the bottom. [00:35:02] Yeah, and a little kids at the top. And hashtags. [00:35:07] Sounds very cute. [00:35:10] Yeah, come see a show.

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