Honoring the Dangerous Ladies

By Camryn MacIver

Florida Studio Theatre is proud to present The Suffragist Project, an artistic and community-wide celebration of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. With FST at the helm, the Project has brought together over 50 community partners that will each host their own programming in honor of the monumental milestone. Partners include the Sarasota Orchestra, Arts and Cultural Alliance, The Ringling, METV, and Sarasota Middle and High Schools, among many others.

Beginning in December 2019, this event series will include artistic productions, author readings, workshops, oral history projects, forum discussions, an in-the-schools engagement program, a march down Main Street, and more. The Project will conclude with a fully-staged production of Dangerous Ladies: Voices of the Suffragists in August 2020.

An adaptation of Dangerous Ladies will tour middle and high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties as part of FST’s Historically Speaking program, inspiring local students to write their own plays about women’s suffrage and the fight for equal rights. The Sarasota Bar Association will partner in this endeavor by going into schools and leading dialogues with students on voting rights.

“This is a community-wide celebration where all of the organizations can benefit each other,” explained FST Associate Director At-Large and Suffragist Project Director Kate Alexander. “We have the opportunity as institutions and organizations to influence one another and impact each other and really deepen our relationship with the community.”

Together, we will celebrate the great work of our foremothers, while acknowledging the struggles of the movement as it relates to race, social, and economic status.

“I am pleased that under the leadership of FST we, in Sarasota, have the opportunity to pay homage to our sisters who, in spite of systematic opposition, secured the right to vote for women,” said Suffragist Project Lead Sponsor Susan Fromm Shimelman. “It’s our obligation to use our privilege wisely.”

Throughout the project, FST will engage and educate the community by providing access to staged readings, forums, events, and discussion panels. Community members will have opportunities to come together and bring their own unique voices to the table, weaving a collective narrative of the Suffragist Movement – past, present, and future.

Programs such as The Suffragist Project are made possible because of the generosity of institutional and individual donors. FST would like to thank Ms. Shimelman, Sy and Shelley Goldblatt, Jane Plitt and Jim Bruen for their contributions to the Project.

If you would like more information on how to support the 2020 Suffragist Project, please contact Melody Mora-Shihadeh at 941-366-9017 ext. 326 or by email at melody@floridastudiotheatre.org.