Dear Auntie - The Grey Panthers


Brown's Mart Theatre, Darwin City

5 shows: November 22 - 24, 2001

A grab bag of entertainment, song, dance, theatre, and end of year frivolity. Find out why Auntie always knows best! Do we want our wishes to come true?  Have you ever wondered where wisdom originates? Where do "old wives" tales come from? Why do older people seem to know so much? Do you dare consult the oracle - the handbag of truth?

Once again those magnificent women the Grey Panthers, took to the stage for a night of entertainment, song, dance, theatre, and frivolity. In the end the audience discovered why Auntie always knows best!

Members of the Grey Panthers all told tales about the way in which society tries to pigeon hole seniors, telling them how they ought to behave, and what they might or might not be allowed to do.

In retaliation these grand matriarchs told us that it is not unusual for older people to be active, to behave outrageously, to try new things and to mentor the younger generations. This group of active seniors are not afraid to wear purple, tell blue jokes or deal with black moods.

This show was for anyone who believes in living life to the extreme! 

Directors' Notes

Dear Auntie, how do you know when you have arrived?

The Grey Panthers have been in existence since 1988. Since that time, they have continually delighted Darwin audiences. They have created a large body of work, which includes four full length performances (notably Old Spice Club, Healthy Wealthy and Wise, and Reluctant Retirees) and many smaller ones. They have had the opportunity to work with many artists (including Sarah Calver, David McMicken, Joanna Barrkman, Merrilee Mills, Anja Tait, and Karyn Sassella). They have been special guest performers for several Tracks Productions, as well as for other individual artists and organisations.

“Dear Auntie” has provided us with an opportunity not only to revisit some of these favourites, (some which have only seen the light of a single performance) but also to welcome many new members to the group with new songs and dances.

It has been a pleasure to work again with our “Aunties”, an experience that constantly reminds us of how much we still have to look forward to. In creating this show, we have drawn heavily on the women’s own experiences and writings, and we thank them sincerely for making such bold offerings. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and maybe even blush a little bit as the Grey Panthers lead us on this voyage of insight.

Creative Personnel

Writer/ Arranger/ Director: Merrilee Mills
Co-Director / Choreographer: David McMicken
Lighting design & Rigger: Matthew James
Lighting Operator: James Forrest
Sound Operator: David McMicken
Live Musician: Merrilee Mills


Lucy Aylett, Kath Baldwin, Betty Ballinger, Barby Barclay, Kay Brown, Bette Chapman, Beryl Darben, Nora Francis, Audrey Gorring, Crena Hemmings, Bobbie Johnstone, Elaine Marlow, Lois Penman, Shirley Somers, Hanna Stamm, Audrey Svara



All The Way/One For My Baby: Frank Sinatra

Scene 1: Body

  • My Hands Tell The Story: Anja Tait, Sung by Kay Brown
  • With These Hands: Silver & Davis.
  • Super Women: Anja Tait.
  • Absolutely Everybody: Holden Ingram Hicks: Sung by Vanessa Amorosi
  • Pass Me By: C. Coleman

Scene 2: Older

  • It’s Not Unusual: a revamp of that old Tom Jones number. Words by Merrilee Mills
  • Retirement Medley: words Merrilee Mills.
  • I Feel Lucky (line Dance): Mary-Chapin Carpenter
  • Young At Heart: T. Bennet & S. Colvin

Scene 3: Hope

  • Ah Poor Bird: Traditional. Arranged Merrilee Mills
  • Hope Medley: Arranged Merrilee Mills
  • Look for the Silver Lining: B. De Sylva & Jerome Kerne.
  • Sunny Side of the Street: McHugh & Fields
  • Pennies From Heaven
  • You’ve Got A Friend: Carole King

Scene 4: Hot ‘n’ Spicy

  • The Lady is a Tramp: Frank Sinatra & Luther Vandross
  • Spice up Your Life: Spice Girls
  • Epilogue

Thank You

Claire Kilgariff, Darwin High School, Darwin International Buddhist Society, Darwin Entertainment Centre, George Peat, Brown’s Mart Community Arts, Fiona and Tim for their Babysitting and general Gentleman’s duties, Yoris and Daniel for putting up with us over these times. Our Front of House Volunteers: Daniel Alderman, David Taylor, Nicole Cridland, Nilda Pedruco, Helen van de Burg, Neil Ludvigson. And the staff of Brown's Mart Theatre, Darwin

Tracks 2001

Artistic Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Office Administration: Heather Richards
Bookkeeper: Lynn Bramham
Production Manager: Eunice De Ramos
Multicultural Artist in Residence: Betchay Mondragon
Grey Panthers Coordinator: Merrilee Mills

Committee Members:  David Taylor (Chair), Jackie Wurm (Vice-Chair), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Kyleigh Hindson/Rukshana Ramachandran (Secretary/Public Officer), Ken Conway, Nicole Cridland, Kay Brown, Tania Lieman (Ordinary Committee Members), David McMicken and Tim Newth (Ex-Officio Members)


Explore Further

Older Adults Home Page


"It’s the dead of the night, and we’ve all gathered here,

Having waited so long for the coast to be clear

Because once every week under cover of dark

We’ve a secretive business on which to embark."

Merrilee Mills, Dear Auntie

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