Florida Studio Theatre winds up its two-year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage with a special online event taking place Aug. 20. Award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, City of Sarasota Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, and Suffragist Project director Kate Alexander will each speak at the celebration, along with a number of theater artists.
The Suffragist Project has, over its existence, brought together more than 60 community organizations to create their own programming in honor of the 19th Amendment milestone. Attendees who arrive early for the online event will get a sneak peek of a new documentary that follows the project since its inception.
Ahearn-Koch will kick off the event at 5:30 p.m. with opening remarks, followed by Alexander, who will remind attendees about the importance of using this historic moment as an opportunity for reflection. Artists Ariel Blue, Kim Crow, Carolyn Michel, Rachel Moulton and Katherine Michelle Tanner will perform some of the great speeches from the women’s suffrage movement. Journalist-author Hunter-Gault will address the audience before the evening concludes with a moment of reflection and a short tribute featuring artists from across the United States.
Alexander told us earlier about the origins of the project. “It was about three years ago that Jane Plitt [the first executive director for the National Organization for Women] said, ‘I hope we do something for the suffragists.’ It was like light bulbs went off…There was no prescient thought that this was going to be a citywide thing; it was just let’s get started and see how many people we can get galvanized.”
Alexander also speaks of her discovery of the “energy and talent in the women in this town, women I got to meet and work with in a much deeper way than I had….When we started it felt so removed; old black and white pictures of women with placards and buns. Talking with these women brought everything to living color.
“Women are such important voices. It isn’t just a vote for a person, it’s your voice that’s agency in your life. This was a bloody battle. They weren’t given the vote, they took it.”
The Aug. 20 event is free, but reservations are required. Visit floridastudiotheatre.org or call FST’s box office at (941) 366-9000.