The Queensland premiere of Phyl Lobl’s Dames and Daredevils for Democracy was announced on Monday, June 12.

With its announcement falling on the 115th anniversary of the women’s suffrage legislation, the show tells the story of 10 leading Australian suffragists who fought for their right to vote. It commemorates the struggle and achievements of those women whose place in Australian history has been largely unremarked and without praise.

Lobl, a respected folk singer-songwriter and activist, was inspired when researching the various strategies of the suffragists. Suffragists featured include Dame Edith Cowan, who features on the $50 note; Henrietta Dugdale, who destroyed her whalebone corset in an act that helped liberate women’s bodies as well as their minds, and Vida Goldstein, who achieved international acclaim as a spokesperson for ballot-box equality.

“I structured the production around the different strategies that the women employed,” said Lobl.

“Every woman had her own action ‘call-sign’ that proffered the opportunity of writing a specialised song for each of them, with lyrics and melodies that matched their tactics.”

“I was inspired by their bravery and their determination. Despite the vast differences in their backgrounds and upbringing, they generated an amazing level of cooperation around the world, even winning support from far-sighted and intelligent men of the time,” she said.

Despite Australian suffragists work during the movement, most people are only familiar with the efforts of British suffragettes, such as the Pankhurst sisters and Emily Wilding Davison. However, with all

of their passion and determination, Australian suffragists called for non-violence in their protests.

“Those women were so spirited and resolute – and astonishingly, most Australians know nothing of them,” said Lobl.

“I wrote this piece of our history in the hope that it would help redress the balance.”

Lobl’s work has been adapted for theatre by Jan Nary, who has directed a passionate cast for the production, staged as a suffragists’ meeting. Music direction is under the skillful eye of musician and choral conductor Ann Bermingham.

Dames and Daredevils for Democracy will be performed at Magda Community Artz on Saturday, 25 June at 7pm, and Sunday, 26 June at 2pm. Tickets are available here.