Great Barrington Public Theater and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, MA, will bring to stage a cry for universal liberty and the power of the vote that remains as clear in 2023 as it was over a century and a half ago when Julia Ward Howe delivered it to the Boston Radical Club.  

She was a celebrated essayist, poet, lecturer, founder of Mother’s Day as a universal call for peace, contemporary of Melville and Whitman, writer of Battle Hymn of The Republic, staunch suffragist, and visionary. Her words and questions speak directly to audiences today when they find her, in the middle of the night, rehearsing a speech she is about to deliver to the Boston Radical Club on the need for representation for all if American democracy is to survive.

Representation and How to Get It creators, playwright Joyce Van Dyke, director Judy Braha and actor Elaine Vaan Hogue capture Howe’s incisive wisdom and insight into America’s crises in 2023.  Engaging her audience, she foresees the loss of our democracy if this remains a nation reserved for some but not all. The stage artists challenge us all to become politically active citizens saying, “We want her words and this play to charge the audience with agency, hope, and a collective sense of the need to take action now.” The stakes are higher now than ever before, and what – Julia demands–can we do about it? Her rallying call remains clear. Each of us must actively resist, persist and insist on voting rights and universal freedom for all.

Each performance of Representation and How to Get It will be followed by a focused post-show conversation with company artists, civic leaders, activist trailblazers and representatives. 

Fri., 8/25

Julia Ward Howe Leans In, 2023

A conversation with the playwright, director and actor about the genesis and creation of the play, and what makes artists want to take on civic-minded projects and activism in the arts.  

Sat., 8/26

It’s Your Community Calling

A conversation about the positive effect of activism and what brings leaders to follow paths to community service, with Ilana Steinhauer, Executive Director Volunteers in Medicine, Berkshires, and Kelly Galvin, Program Director, Community Access to the Arts.  

Sun., 8/27 

Women in Politics, Women in Place

A conversation about organized activism, electoral inclusion and their personal journeys to representation by women and for all constituents in their communities, with Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Mass. State Representative and Leigh Davis, Vice-Chair Great Barrington Select board.   

Representation and How to Get It is performed three times only, Fri. Aug. 25, 7pm; Sat. Aug 26, 11am; Sun. Aug. 27, 2pm in The Stables, at The Mount, 2 Plunkett St., Lenox, MA  

More information can be found on the GBPT website and on Facebook. Tickets are available on the GBPT website only and by phone 413-372-1980, or Students free with advance reservations. A valid current student ID must be presented at door.

Artists’ Bios

Joyce Van Dyke New Work ● Local Talent ● Affordable Tickets Artist Credits and Bios Joyce’s solo show, REPRESENTATION AND HOW TO GET IT, was
developed in collaboration with actor Elaine Vaan Hogue and director Judy Braha. It was performed in New York and numerous historic New England venues in 2022. Joyce’s other plays include DAYBREAK (Off-Broadway premiere, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre), THE WOMEN WHO MAPPED THE STARS (commissioned and produced by Central Square Theater), THE OIL THIEF (commissioned by Ensemble Studio Theatre / Sloan Project, produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, winner of the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Script), and A GIRL’S WAR (produced by Golden Thread Productions, New Repertory Theatre, and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, winner of the Gassner Award and Boston Globe’s “Top Ten” plays of the year.) Her plays have been anthologized in 100 Plays to Save the World; Contemporary Armenian American Drama; and Laugh Lines: Short Comic Plays. She is a MacDowell Fellow and Huntington Playwriting Fellow, and has taught Shakespeare and playwriting for many years at Harvard Extension School.

Judy Braha New Work ● Local Talent ● Affordable Tickets Judy has been a director, actor, teacher and artist for social justice for over four decades. Long-time head of the M.F.A. Directing Program at Boston University’s School of Theater, her credits include theaters and universities throughout New England. With a commitment to the arts as activism, Judy collaborates with Andre de Quadros in the BU College of Fine Arts Prison Arts Initiative, teaching incarcerated students in Massachusetts’ prisons and jails. They also worked together within the BU community, teaching the Collaborative Arts Incubator and the groundbreaking series Race, Prison, Justice, Arts. Judy was honored by the Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE) with the 2022 Oscar Brocket Award for Excellence in Theater Teaching. As a director, Judy’s work often has concern for human rights at its center: To Kill A Mockingbird (Gloucester Stage Company), Emilie, La Marquise du Chatelet, Defends Her Life Tonight (Central Square Theater), Othello, I Am Lear, a devised piece on aging (Actor’s Shakespeare Project), The Oil Thief + Deported, a dream play (Boston Playwrights Theater), Golda’s Balcony (NEW REP), Our Class, Our Country’s Good and The Exonerated at BU/School Of Theater, the new work Mr. Fullerton, Between the Sheets (Great Barrington Public Theater and Gloucester Stage Company) and the East Coast premiere of Things I Know To Be True (GBPT). Currently, Representation and How to Get It, a new solo work about the feminist, suffragist, abolitionist Julia Ward Howe, for Great Barrington Public Theater at The Mount and Revolutionary Spaces in Boston, MA. A longtime member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers, AEA and SAG-AFTRA, Judy is also proud to have been a founding board member of Stage Source, New England Theater’s service organization committed to connecting theaters, artists and their communities.

Elaine Vaan Hogue Elaine is an actor, director, teacher, and producer. Originally from Los Angeles she has performed, directed, and taught in diverse settings across the country.
Elaine is a fervent member of The Magdalena Project, a dynamic international cross- cultural and cross-generational network of women in contemporary theatre. In 2022 she was a performer in Daughter directed by Jill Greenhalgh as part of the Magdalena International Festival hosted by Double Edge Theatre, a gathering of worldwide women, non-binary, and trans artists. She co-founded the Gypsy Mamas Artist Group, a laboratory sustaining adventurous creative exploration and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration in the creation of new work. Projects include The Future of Ice, Creation: Mythic Weavings, and When Jennie Goes Marching. Elaine has performed and directed at many theatres including THT Rep, New Repertory Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Boston Center for American Performance, Arts After Hours, Bridge Repertory Theatre, Wheelock Family Theatre, Double Edge Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, New Theatre, American Theatre Arts. She is a Professor Emerita at Boston University where she taught acting and directing for 25 years. Elaine is thrilled to be touring Representation and How to Get It to historic venues throughout New England.

Great Barrington Public Theater was founded by Artistic Director Jim Frangione and Executive Director Deann Simmons Halper to create opportunities for theater artists in the Berkshires and neighboring regions. Great Barrington Public Theater recognizes the many excellent playwrights, actors, directors, designers, administrators and technicians living in the Berkshires and surrounding areas. Our objective is to bring a mix of new and contemporary plays to the stage in a variety of formats; to generate and foster creative and rigorous opportunity for local theater artists, while engaging our theatergoing public with new and contemporary readings, workshops, and fully staged productions, involving local talent as often as possible, and always keeping ticket prices affordable.

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