Florida Studio Theatre is proud to officially announce the full event calendar for "The Suffragist Project: Celebrating 100 Years of the Woman’s Right to Vote." This unparalleled city-wide commemoration of the 19th Amendment has brought together over 55 community organizations, each creating their own artistic, educational and cultural programming.
“It is thrilling to see the wide array of organizational leaders who have not only approached the idea of The Suffragist Project with enthusiasm, but have delivered programming that is distinct and fiercely creative,” shared Kate Alexander, the Project’s Director. “They sought to cross boundaries and create new projects that reach across disciplines — from the Choral Society engaging with actors to Historic Spanish Point providing space for METV and BTN Films to document the breadth of The Suffragist Project’s reach in the community. Everyone we met with reacted with a resounding, ‘Yes!’”
Inspired by this historic milestone, community partners will host a wide spectrum of events throughout Sarasota and Manatee, including performances, visual art exhibitions, lectures, panel discussions and arts-in-education programming for youth.
Sarasota Music Festival Music Director Jeffrey Kahane has created “Voices Unbound: Celebrating Three Centuries of Women in Music” within the 2020 Sarasota Music Festival. As part of the project, the Sarasota Music Festival will welcome several women composers to Sarasota. Each will play an active role in guiding the performance of their respective works and participate in other activities during the three-week Festival. Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company will create and perform all-new choreography highlighting the strength of a collective female body. Author Kate Moore will speak about her bestselling book, The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, which has been selected by Sarasota County Libraries to be read by the entire community in 2020. This is part of the library system’s One Book One Community Program, which helps inspire new ideas in the community through a mutual love of reading. Art Ovation Hotel will host an art exhibition by the Petticoat Painters, one of the oldest continuously exhibiting women's art groups in the United States. New College of Florida will host a series of discussions exploring racism within the suffrage movement and the history of white suffragists abandoning the interests of their black counterparts.
Starting in January, FST’s "Historically Speaking" program will tour middle schools and high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Historically Speaking is a three-day in-school residency inspiring students to write their own plays exploring themes like suffrage and civil rights. First, students see a performance featuring some of the most stirring and impactful speeches given by suffragists throughout history. Following the performance, lawyers from the Sarasota County Bar Association will lead dialogues with students on voting rights. After that, students attend a playwriting workshop, providing them with the necessary tools and techniques to write their own scripts. Part of FST’s award-winning arts-in-education initiative, "Write A Play, Historically Speaking" concludes with students submitting their own original plays to FST’s annual youth playwriting competition.
The Suffragist Project will culminate in August with The Dangerous Ladies Festival, a weekend-long celebration of the new theatrical work created over the course of The Project. The festival will include World Premiere public readings of four new Suffragist Project-commissioned plays written by playwrights Rachel Lynett, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Mark St. Germain and Sandy Rustin.
The festival will also feature the presentation of "Dangerous Ladies: The Voices of the Suffragists," a devised theatrical piece created by Kate Alexander and Meg Gilbert. "Dangerous Ladies: features the work developed by Ariel Blue, Kim Crow, Susan Greenhill, Carolyn Michel, Rachel Moulton, J. Paul Nicholas, Zoe Speas, Katherine Michelle Tanner and Alicia Taylor Tomasko.
“This is an unparalleled opportunity to open up discussion in the community, to celebrate where we are and meditate on where we have yet to go,” shared The Honorable Judge Charles E. Williams, who chairs The Suffragist Project. “It will bring together artists from all over the country to create new and pressing theatrical work, bringing to life the voices of the past.”
“The ratification of the 19th Amendment was a pivotal moment in our country’s history,” added FST’s Producing Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins. “The Suffragist Project’s goal is to celebrate our country and one of its fundamental tenets, that everyone is created equal. We want to celebrate the accomplishment of women’s suffrage, but also reveal the dramatic past of women’s fight for equality. And while doing so, highlight the obstacles Americans experience while trying to find their piece of the American Dream, which not everyone has found yet.”