Ladies Reading Room
About the Project
This project is inspired by the Ladies’ Reading Room events that were held in St. John’s in the early part of the 20th century in protest of the fact that women of the time were not allowed to attend or speak at the local debating societies.
The Ladies' Reading Room, where women WERE allowed to make speeches and debate, was the incubator for the creation of the Women's Franchise League – the leading suffrage group in our province’s history. This group was the instigator of our province’s earliest women’s marches and other work for equality.
“The women developed confidence as public speakers by giving papers, and debating and analyzing issues, all within a socially respectable atmosphere defined by cups of tea and genteel female company.” (https://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/society/womens-history-group.php)
Our idea is to host seven public events in homage to the original Ladies Reading Room and their popular Current Events Club.
Our Ladies Reading Room events will occur monthly, on the first Tuesday of each month, from April-October 2021 at the E.B. Foran Room at City Hall.
These free events, open to the public, will start with a short 5-10 minute theatrical performance, set in 1921, written by a local female playwright, directed by a local female director, with costumes designed and constructed by local designers, and performed by a local female actor.
Each month will have a theme related to women’s equality that was relevant to women both in 1921 and 2021.
Following the theatrical performance, we will “jump forward in time” to host an expert panel discussion on the same topic from a current-day perspective, involving participation from the community.
Importantly, links on progress (or lack-thereof) between 1921 and 2021 will be emphasized.
Tea will served in both period-appropriate and environmentally sustainable china cups to all.
CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST