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‘Equal Rights by all means!’: Geneva's Role in Suffrage Drama

March 28, 2017, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Geneva History Museum
543 South Main Street
Geneva, NY 14456

Hobart and William Smith Professor Christine Woodworth kicks off our Spring Lecture Series with “‘Equal Rights by all means!’: Geneva's Role in Suffrage Drama."

On the afternoon of March 31, 1910, hundreds of people filled the Maxine Elliott Theatre in New York City for an afternoon of variety entertainment organized by actress Beatrice Forbes-Robertson in support of suffrage. The U.K. and U.S. suffrage movements converged onstage as British and American actresses performed three short suffrage plays interspersed by rousing speeches and satirical poems delivered by figures such as Maxine Elliott herself and Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The matinee generated over $1000 in donations and led the New York Times reviewer to assert, “If Equal Rights will result in many more entertainments as pleasant as the one arranged…at the Maxine Elliott Theatre yesterday, then Equal Rights by all means!” Much of the archival evidence of the 1910 suffrage matinee survives in scrapbooks compiled by Genevans Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter Anne Fitzhugh Miller. Woodworth will explore the Geneva connections to the suffrage matinee and reveal how the performance laid the foundation for future U.S. performances of British pro-suffrage propaganda plays. The lecture will conclude with a staged reading of one of the pieces included in the matinee. Performers will include HWS students and members of the Geneva community.

Chris Woodworth is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Hobart & William Smith Colleges, where she primarily teaches courses in theatre history and directs. Chris is currently an HWS Fisher Center Fellow, exploring the 2016-2017 theme: “No Place Like Home.”

Chris is originally from Geneva and has directed local productions for HWS Theatre, Geneva Theatre Guild, and Headless Sullivan Theater, as well as the Geneva Historical Society's 2014 program From Beyond: Washington St. Cemetery Stories.

This program is supported in part by the Samuel B. Williams fund for programs in the Humanities. For more information about this program call the Geneva Historical Society at 315-789-5151.

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