Pierce Performance Series
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 and explored abolitionists' vital messages. The 2021 show will celebrate women's suffrage and in 2022 we will highlight the life of Thomas Paine.



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.

Pierce Performance
Please join us for 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 offers 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, will be portrayed by an ensemble of ten.

The cast, featuring many renowned members of the Boston arts community, will play 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 will be interspersed throughout the production, along with an original score.

ONWARD will be held both virtually and in-person at the Boston Public Library.
In-person tickets are very limited, due to social distancing requirements.

In-Person Shows
Rabb Hall, Boston Public Library's Central Library in Copley Square

Tuesday, November 16 at 11:00 AM (SOLD OUT!)
Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00 PM (SOLD OUT!)
Wednesday, November 17 at 6:00 PM (SOLD OUT!)

Reserve In-Person Tickets

Virtual Premiere
The play will be streamed via Zoom. It will be followed
by a Q&A with the Playwright & Director, Lisa Rafferty,
and Composer & Music Director, Adam McDonald.

Monday, November 22 at 6:00 pm

Reserve Virtual Tickets



Past Pierce Performances