On Monday evening, Dec. 2, at Florida Studio Theatre’s historic Keating Theatre, FST officially announced the full event calendar for "The Suffragist Project: Celebrating 100 Years of the Woman’s Right to Vote."
The project, announced some months ago, has now blossomed into a community-wide commemoration of the 19th Amendment, bringing together more than 55 organizations, each creating programming to mark the event. Along with FST’s Rebecca Hopkins and Kate Alexander (project director), several of those organizers took the stage at the Keating to speak briefly about the work they are doing.
Included among them: Judge Charles E. Williams, a chair of various Forums that will take place throughout the year; Joe McKenna, CEO of the Sarasota Orchestra, who spoke about the Voices Unbound project set for June 2020 as part of the Sarasota Music Festival, welcoming to Sarasota several women composers; and Charlie Ann Syprett, who touched on Historically Speaking, an in-school residency inspiring students to write their own plays exploring themes like suffrage and civil rights. Williams also mentioned the Black Suffragists program, which will candidly discuss the sometimes racially charged dissensions within the Suffragist movement.
Alexander compared the multiple aspects of the overall project to a “kaleidoscope,” where viewers will look at different fragments and images to ultimately see a whole picture. And she spoke of how for centuries women’s voices could not be heard in the theater, dating back to the male Greek playwrights and actors who wrote and played women characters, a practice continuing through Shakespeare’s time.
Actress Carolyn Michel and Choral Artists of Sarasota closed out Monday’s program with a Suffragist speech and music, but the yearlong calendar of related events is just beginning, ranging from performances and lectures to visual art exhibitions, panel discussions and more. First up: Those interested can “Walk with the Suffragists” at this Saturday’s Sarasota Holiday Parade while wearing white (reservations required).
The Suffragist Project culminates in August 2020 with The Dangerous Ladies Festival, a weekend-long celebration of new theatrical work created over the course of the project. The festival will include world premiere readings of four new Suffragist-Project-commissioned plays by playwrights Rachel Lynett, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Mark St. Germain and Sandy Rustin.
For a full listing of community partners, events and more, visit floridastudiotheatre.org/suffragist-project.