March 19, 2010

Performance to tell stories of Navy WAVES

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- In 1942, women returned to general United States Navy service for the first time in 23 years. “Steeling the Heart: Women Turning the Tide During World War II,” a performance art presentation produced by a team of Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate students, seeks to tell their stories.

The performance runs March 25-27 in the Marion Kleinau Theatre on the second floor of the Communications Building. All performances begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 for general admission and $5 for students with proper student identification. Tickets are available at the door.

Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) were active in some of the traditionally female secretarial and clerical jobs, but also became active in other areas including aviation, communications, intelligence, and science and technology. By the end of World War II, more than 8,000 women held officer positions and many more were active uniformed personnel.

The performance brings alive the narratives of some of the many thousands of women in the WAVES, exploring themes of gender relations, industrialization, war and peace, class and race.

Jamie Huber directs, with co-directors Molly Wiant-Cummins and Christi Wells. The Student Fine Arts Activity Fee contributed to funding this performance.