21 Hearts: Vivian Bullwinkel and the Nurses of the Vyner Brooke

21 Hearts

21 Hearts: Vivian Bullwinkel and the Nurses of the Vyner Brooke

Written by Jenny Davis
A compelling true story of the celebration of women’s strength, love and hope in the face of adversity.

Written by Jenny Davis. Directed by Stuart Halusz. Featuring Caitlin Beresford-Ord, Rebecca Davis, Michelle Fornasier, Alex Jones, Helen Searle and Alison van Reeken.

BOOK HERE for Como Theatre OCT 30 – NOV 10


Wednesday 30th Oct | 11am & 7pm
Thursday 31st Oct | 7pm
Friday 1st Nov | 11am & 7pm
Saturday 2nd Nov | 2pm & 7pm
Wednesday 6th Nov | 11am & 7pm
Thursday 7th Nov | 7pm
Friday 8th Nov | 11am & 7pm

Saturday 9th Nov | 2pm & 7pm

Sunday 10th Nov | 5pm


Vivian Bullwinkel was one of 65 Australian nurses who boarded the Vyner Brooke in an attempt to flee the Japanese invasion of Singapore in February, 1942. Bombed by Japanese fighter planes and after spending days at sea, she and some other survivors found their way to Radji Beach on Banka Island where they surrendered. In one of the most atrocious acts of war crimes in our history, 22 nurses were forced to march into the sea where they were callously machine gunned. The only survivor and witness, Vivian spent the rest of the war in a prison camp before liberation, and her remaining years fighting for recognition of the bravery of her friends and colleagues; their strength and courage in the face of death sustaining her for the rest of her illustrious life.

21 Hearts relays the resilient Aussie humour displayed by the women in the camp and provides a respectful and authentic voice to those who were silenced, remembering them for who they were and not just for what happened to them.

A story of hope, courage, resilience and heart.

Featuring 6 of WA’s most outstanding actors, 21 HEARTS is a celebration of the human spirit and an uplifting, inspiring story which reminds us of the great futility of war.


Como Theatre, 16 Preston Street, Como, Western Australia

Important information

  • Foyer doors open one hour prior to the performance, with theatre doors opening 20 minutes prior to the performance.
  • Seating is unreserved on a first come first served basis unless accessibility requirements are advised.
  • The performance duration is 110 minutes with no interval.
  • This event is wheelchair accessible. If you have any questions about access, please get in touch via info@theatre180.com.au
  • The performance is recommended for ages 12 years and older.
  • Content warning Explosions, war scenes

Image: Stewart Thorpe Photography


Leading WA publishing company Fremantle Press has commissioned our playwright Jenny Davis OAM to write a novel for Young Adult Readers, based on the script of 21 Hearts. Courage By My Friend is available in all good book stores and online: https://fremantlepress.com.au/books/courage-be-my-friend/

“The nation has recently honoured Vivian Bullwinkel by erecting a statue of her at the Australian War Memorial, and now THEATRE 180 is similarly honouring her life and legacy in this new play and book. The courage, perseverance, selflessness and sisterhood displayed by Vivian and all of the nurses involved in this truly amazing, emotional story should be long remembered. I do wish Jenny Davis all the very best in bringing this story to younger readers. It is a particularly sensitive tale of women involved in an appalling, brutal war, but it is also one of their indomitable spirit when they had to endure more than three years of starvation, illness, disease and the declining health and even death of their nursing colleagues under the callous watch of an uncaring enemy”. Colin Burgess, author of ‘Sisters in Captivity’, published in 2023 by Simon and Schuster.

Como Theatre, 16 Preston Street, Como WA, October 30 - November 10, 2024

31 Oct 2024

01 Nov 2024

07 Nov 2024

10 Nov 2024

21 Hearts: Vivian Bullwinkel and the Nurses of the Vyner Brooke

The Team


Jenny Davis OAM


Stuart Halusz


Caitlin Beresford-Ord
Rebecca Davis
Michelle Fornasier
Alex Jones
Helen Searle
Alison van Reeken

Sound Design & Programmer

Ben Collins

Visual Designer

Gneiss Design

Lighting Designer

Rowan van Blomestein

Costume Designer

Ingrid Zurzolo

Costume Consultant

Neil Sheriff

Movement Director

Rachael Bott

Theme Song Composer and Musical Director

Craig Skelton

Theme Song Vocalists

Lisa Harper-Brown
Saskia Haluszkiewicz

Theme Song Musicians

Australian Baroque

Stage Manager

Craig Williams

Assistant Stage Manager

Aaron Stirk

Associate Producer

Alison Welburn

Marketing Manager & Publicity

Limelight Consulting


Stewart Thorpe

Hair & Makeup Stylist

KT Crocker

Additional Information & Acknowledgements

Thank You To:

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As an independent, not-for-profit theatre company, we welcome any form of support. Donations of $2.00 or more are tax-deductible.

The THEATRE 180 Public Fund (ABN: 33 042 434 145) is a tax deductible fund listed on the Australian Government’s Register of Cultural Organisations maintained under Subdivision 30-F of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.


THEATRE 180 Public Fund

Robin Tunnicliffe FCPA CPM, Jenny Davis OAM, Stuart Halusz

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