Mariposa Museum schedules ‘Ardent Girls’ reading

  • Jane Addams and Leo Tolstoy COURTESY PHOTO 

  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett PHOTO BY SALLIE GARRITY, 1893

  • Amy Merrill PHOTO BY MIKE LOVETT

Published: 5/6/2022 4:29:49 PM
PETERBOROUGHMariposa schedules ‘Ardent Girls’ reading

On Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m., the Mariposa Museum and World Culture Center at 26 Main St. in Peterborough will screen a filmed reading of Amy Merrill's play “Ardent Girls” about 19th-century idealists and activists who helped shape the field of social work and civil rights activism.

The screening will be followed by a live and in-person talkback with Merrill and director Genevieve Aichele, artistic director at New Hampshire Theatre Project. The event is free.

Merrill's play is inspired by the real-life interactions between turn-of-the-last-century Chicago reformer Jane Addams, Russian novelist and moral leader Leo Tolstoy and journalist, suffragist and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Addams, sometimes called the mother of social work, was a philanthropist, activist and community organizer whose Hull House in Chicago provided some of the city's poorest residents with day care, laundry services, employment services and meals. Her stance against World War I earned her a Nobel Peace Prize.

Tolstoy, Russian author of “War and Peace," and "Anna Kerenina," is considered one of Russia's greatest writers and also became a moral and religious leader, championing the rights of the poor.

Wells-Barnett was an American investigative journalist, educator and early leader in the civil rights movement, who also was one of the founders of the NAACP. Like Addams, she was a crusader for women's suffrage, though she was best-known for her work in bringing to light widespread lynching of Black people in the American South.

The reading, commissioned by the Mariposa as part of its "Americans Who Tell the Truth” series, was produced by the New Hampshire Theatre Project and, with the talkback, is supported by New Hampshire Humanities and the Eppes-Jefferson Fund.

Merrill, based in the Boston area but with long family ties to the Monadnock Region, is an activist and author of many plays. She is the founder of Blackbird Plays and Productions, a board member for Fort Point Theatre Channel and a planner and playwright with Her Story Is, a collaborative dedicated to creating creative dialogue between women writers in Iraq and the United States that helps to achieve reconciliation between the two countries.

Aichele is a theater artist and the founding director of New Hampshire Theatre Project, an applied theater company based in Portsmouth. She has performed, directed and taught performing arts and public speaking for more than 40 years throughout the United States, Europe and Hong Kong.

The Mariposa Museum and World Culture Center works to foster peace and understanding across cultural borders. The museum, open Wednesdays through Sundays, is accessible to people in wheelchairs.


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