The Pierce Performance Series seeks to raise the visibility of the Boston Public Library's Special Collections through free public performances. Thanks to the generosity of the Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust our past performances have commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Peace Jubilee, explored abolitionists' vital messages, and celebrate women's suffrage. In November 2022 we will highlight the life of Thomas Paine.
CELEBRATING WOMEN'S RIGHT TO VOTE
ONWARD was held both virtually and in-person at the Boston Public Library in November 2021. Thank you to everyone who joined us!
The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. The 19th Amendment, which guarantees women the right to vote, was finally passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920. To mark the recent 100th anniversary of this historic event, the Associates of the Boston Public Library commissioned a play celebrating many of the advocates who brought about this radical change.
The 2021 Pierce Performance featured the world premiere of ONWARD – Votes for Women, a documentary play created by Lisa Rafferty, with music arranged and composed by Adam R. McDonald. The production offered the powerful and inspiring voices and perspectives of the extraordinary women who fought for seventy years for equality. Over twenty historical characters from the movement, along with women leaders from our time, were portrayed by an ensemble of ten.
The cast, featured many renowned members of the Boston arts community, playing multiple roles, including: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Alice Paul, Mary Church Terrell, Louisa May Alcott, Shirley Chisholm, Betty Ford, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Gloria Steinem. The script was created using language verbatim from documents in the Boston Public Library's Special Collections, and other speeches, letters, articles and interviews from a variety of sources. Suffrage music and songs were interspersed throughout the production, along with an original score.
Past Pierce Performances