Representation and How to Get It

A Play about Julia Ward Howe

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Representation and How to Get It Julia Ward Howe

“I would be human, and American, and a woman.”

Julia Ward Howe, author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, is up at 4:00am. She’s rehearsing a talk she’s about to give to the Boston Radical Club on representation for women, and she has some pointed questions for her audience. Prophetically, she foresees our nation’s crisis today, when she says that one day we will lose our democracy, if this remains an America for some of us, not an America for all of us. The stakes are high, and what – Julia demands to know – are we doing about it?

Revolutionary Spaces teamed with Mass NOW for a stunning site-specific performance and community programs inspired by Julia Ward Howe that challenges audiences to become politically active citizens of our democracy.

Revolutionary Spaces and Mass NOW co-present Representation and How to Get It, at Old South Meeting House, September 28th through 30th. Each evening features a unique, post-performance program featuring celebrated civic leaders, trailblazing representatives, and award-winning performers. The performances and programs are free and open to the public and made possible by the support of the New England Women’s Club Fund.

Post-Performance Programs

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - Panel Discussion

The performance will be followed by an exciting, post-performance panel featuring some of Boston’s most incredible civic leaders discussing the past, present, and future of female-identifying persons' role in civic life and the unfinished struggle for representation. Moderated by Revolutionary Spaces' Executive Vice President of Museum Experience Anne Freeh Engel.

Sasha Goodfriend is a community organizer, curating feminist & queer experiences through partnerships with statewide government, community organizations & creatives alike. She works to advance this mission through her roles as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW), a community organizer consultant with the Boston Tenant Coalition and Our Bodies Ourselves and serves as a board member with the Transgender Emergency Fund and member of Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. Sasha graduated with a B.A. from the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University majoring in International Relations with a minor in Women, Gender & Sexuality studies and received her Masters in Public Policy from Simmons University.

If we want a better future, we need to think and live beyond silos. We must participate in local planning and political processes that affect your everyday life and your future (or your children.) With action, comes change. With patience and strategy, change can occur at scale. Through effective and people-centered policy, strategy, and organizational development, Wilnelia's work seeks to unlock the hearts, hands, and minds of constituents and leaders to advance equity and social justice in their own backyards, organizations, municipalities, and companies. Currently, she is the Founder and President of Rivera Consulting, Inc. (2015), a management consulting firm committed to co-planting the seeds for deep democracy, collective care, and just sustainability. We work with municipalities, planners, urban designers, executive principals, social justice organizations and companies, and philanthropy.

Recognized by Boston Magazine in 2022 and 2021, as one of Boston’s Top 100 Influential Bostonians, as well as by the Tufts University Alumni Magazine, Wilnelia is a seasoned movement-building professional, facilitator, researcher, and strategist with a track record of success at the intersection of cross-sector collaboration, organizational development, and planning. By focusing her firm's practice and approach on the nexus between people, planning, research, and politics, her firm partners with local and national clients and consultants to assess and prototype 21st-century solutions and frameworks that addresses or unearths past harm or assets and build trusts to plan and operationalize these action plans and playbooks.

She holds both a B.A. in International Relations, B.A. in Women's Studies (2004) and an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning from Tufts University (2014), as well as a past Mel King Fellowship recipient at Massachusetts Institute for Technology's CoLab, where she focused on public policy research related to urban politics, economic democracy, community planning, and sustainable community economic development. Featured contributor to WBUR, GBH, the Boston Globe, and Boston Herald as well as co-author of Turnout! Mobilizing Voters in an Emergency (2020). A self-described strategic disruptor, she understands that in the world, country, and at home are in transition and that the time is now to enable, inspire, and operationalize solutions to rewrite the American social contract for the 21st century.

Mary-dith E. Tuitt was born on the island of Montserrat and emigrated to join her parents at a young age with her brothers. She attended Boston public and graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1985 and entered the United States Navy. Marydith served fourteen (14) years as a Navy jet mechanic both active duty and Reserves. Marydith is the Program Manager of the Veterans Outreach Center, a program of Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center. She served as Chief Legislative Aide for State Representative Gloria L. Fox (for 10+ years); she has worked as Constituent Services Coordinator for a Boston City Councilor, providing support to the underserved communities of Boston, and has worked on various political campaigns. Over the years Marydith has always been involved and vested in her community. She has been active with organizations and groups that focus on Veteran and Women Issues; presently serves as President of the National Association of Commissions for Women, Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, Vice President of Suffrage 100MA Board, a member of the MA Women Veterans Network steering committee, Commander of the Wm E. Carter American Legion Post 16, a member of the Organization of African American Veterans, Holyoke Soldiers' Home Reconstruction - Access, Inclusion and Diversity Committee (appointed by Governor Baker), and Public Relations for Montserrat Progressive Society of Boston and board member of Fair Foods Boston. Mary is a proud mother, sister, grandmother and aunt.
Marty Walz has over 30 years of experience and leadership positions in the non-profit, corporate, and government sectors. As the principal of Marty Walz & Associates, she provides executive level support to organizations of all sizes, and her work includes project management, strategic planning, fundraising, communications and advocacy, board development, and interim leadership roles. She served as the Interim Executive Director at Old South Association from May 2018 to December 2019 when it merged with The Bostonian Society to form Revolutionary Spaces.   Prior to founding her own firm, Marty served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, leading the organization’s health care, education, and advocacy work. A former State Representative, she represented the 8th Suffolk District for 8 years. Among her legislative achievements, she was the author of the 2010 education reform law, the anti-bullying law, and the law allowing the establishment of virtual schools. Marty has held leadership positions at non-profit and public organizations including Jumpstart for Young Children and Boston Public Schools.   Her deep experience in the non-profit sector includes serving on the boards of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, MassInsight Education, and the National Center on Time and Learning. She has also served as a member of the Charles River Water Quality Commission, the Advisory Council of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, the Kingsley Montessori School Advisory Council, and the Women’s Lunch Place Board of Directors and Advisory Committee. She's also served as the Chair and Treasurer of Boston's Ward 5 Democratic Committee and as the President of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.   Marty started her career as an employment attorney, having practiced law at the national law firm Littler Mendelson and at the venerable Boston law firm Palmer & Dodge. She also worked as Associate General Counsel for Harcourt General, Inc.   Marty holds a M.P.A. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and a B.A. from Colgate University.

Thursday, September 29, 2022 - Fireside Chat

The performance will be followed by a fireside chat between Mass NOW Executive Director Sasha Goodfriend and Massachusetts State Senator Lydia Edwards, exploring representation in action.

Sasha Goodfriend is a community organizer, curating feminist & queer experiences through partnerships with statewide government, community organizations & creatives alike. She works to advance this mission through her roles as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW), a community organizer consultant with the Boston Tenant Coalition and Our Bodies Ourselves and serves as a board member with the Transgender Emergency Fund and member of Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. Sasha graduated with a B.A. from the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University majoring in International Relations with a minor in Women, Gender & Sexuality studies and received her Masters in Public Policy from Simmons University.

Friday, September 30, 2022 - Poetry & Music

The performance will be followed by a celebration in honor of women, poets, and Julia Ward Howe. Boston poets, storytellers, and cultural change makers, including Amanda Shea, Princess Moon, Valerie Stevens, and Krysten Hill. The evening will feature DJ WhySham.

Amanda Shea is a renowned spoken word and multidisciplinary artist, educator, mentor, activist, publicist, power networker and mother. She knows, loves, and uplifts artists all over Greater Boston across New England to the DMV, Atlanta, Chicago... and beyond. Amanda is a community heartbeat. She's hosted BAMSFest and countless poetry events; she facilitates youth workshops for spoken word poetry, visual arts, and public speaking; she is a publicist for hip hop artist Brandie Blaze; she has managed and supported countless other artists in Boston. Last year, she was named among WBUR The ARTery's 25 artists of color transforming the cultural landscape. To top all of that -- she co-founded and curated five iterations of Activating ARTivism, a community festival to amplify POC through art, activism, and resistance. This event has featured artists from Boston, Brockton, Chicago, Virginia, D.C., and more. Importantly, it has raised awareness and provided support for local nonprofits like Mission Safe, The New England Innocence Project, Trans Resistance MA, The Simple Good (Chicago), and the LDB Peace Institute. Amanda is versed in running community events, putting together impactful, inclusive lineup of artists, and bringing people together.

Valerie Stephens is a performing artist/arts educator whose professional career spans more than 35 years. Boston Massachusetts born, Valerie was introduced to performing arts at the University of Massachusetts/ Amherst and the shy, young woman became smitten by the creative freedom and transformative force of theater. Following that passion, she has developed her skills as an actor, storyteller and vocalist/band leader. In addition, Valerie is a sought- after historical researcher, educator and producer. “I am always exploring!” In addition to receiving a 2019 Brother Thomas Fellowship with an unrestricted award of $15,000, Valerie has received a Bridge Award in Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts Creative City Grant for creating the Elder Storytelling Performance Project, Boston City Council Resolution for creating the annual event Princess Day: Celebrating Little Girls of Color and her commitment to icon Nina Simone’s legacy, a Get Konnected! Boston Legends & Pioneers Award, a NAACP Image Award, Urban Music Award in Blues and nomination in Jazz as well as Citations of Appreciation from the cities of Boston, New Bedford and Springfield. As a vocalist/ band leader, Valerie is known for her work in Jazz, Blues and Spoken Word. She has produced a series of innovative concerts: Women of the Village celebrating female commonality in English, Spanish and Xhosa. Sweet & Salty: Dressed to the Nines a tribute to classic Blues Women and a four-concert series dedicated to Dr. Nina Simone, currently touring Nina Simone & HipHop. Storyteller Valerie Stephens has performed throughout New England for three generations of audiences. She has been contracted to research, present and/or perform historical event production and folktales for a number of organizations including Boston Children Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Science Museum, Springfield Arts Museum, Cambridge Cultural Council and the House of Blues. Valerie toured nationally for nine years, as lead actor with the award-winning Underground Railway Theater developing the lead role of Harriet Tubman and performed with other local and resident theater productions. After a 15 years absence, she returned to theater stage in Company One’s controversial production of Neighbors in the character role of Mammy Crow. She, then, created a solo performance piece, The Mammy Diaries. In 2018, Valerie performed the lead role in Marblehead Little Theater’s heart wrenching production of Letters from War in the lead role as Mae, a 75-year-old woman suffering from the Alzheimer’s disease. Arts Educator & Artist-in-Residence Valerie has taught creative dramatics & improvisational theater technique to ages 4 – 85, developing a performance-based program specifically designed for elders, Mother and Father Wits: Life Lessons. She has developed and taught three middle school courses focusing on 19th Century Women in Medicine & Public Health Methodology for "Girls Get Connected", a program affiliated with Simmons College, committed to inspiring girls to choose technical careers.

Dj WhySham is the CEO of Boston Got Next Entertainment and visionary of Bringing Back Boston (BBBMA) now known as “The Social Justice Trap Movement” (Creating future womxn engineers using creative arts to address trauma, public and mental health). She believes in bringing music, hardship and pain together while creating events as a release for collective trauma. Her background in Criminal Justice, Communication and Community Outreach has led her to merge her artistry as a DJ. WhySham is a part of the 2021 WBUR ARTery’s Top 25 cohort and was the only female nominated for the 2021 New England Music Awards “Producer of the Year”. WhySham is also 3x ‘DJ of The Year’ Boston Music Awards Nominee‘. Her debut project “Finally” released in 2020 featuring all womxn, where she coined the term “Social Justice Trap” music. In February ‘22 she released a collaborative project “The Pencess” featuring ‘CakeSwagg’. Stay tuned for The Social Justice Trap Movement Presents: “A Survivor’s Prayer EP” releasing in 2022. This EP will take you on a journey of Harmonies, Heartbreak and Healing. Check Out DJ WhySham’s Music Here Her first virtual concert “Finally Live” has now reached over 500 views on YouTube. September 10, 2021 she hosted her first festival “Finally Reloaded” featuring local acts from Massachusetts with over 250 in attendance. WhySham has definitely created the DJ Khaled effect in her hometown. Check out Snippets from DJ WhySham booked events here. She has been featured on: Allston Pudding, Boston Compass, Boston Herald, Boston Globe, GBH, Vanyaland, WBUR and more.


September 28 - 30, 2022

Old South Meeting House
Admission is free.

About the Creative Team

Joyce Van Dyke will have her play Representation and How to Get It produced as part of the United Solo Theatre Festival off-Broadway in October 2022. Her other plays include Daybreak which premiered off-Broadway in a Pan Asian Repertory Theatre production in 2018; it was also produced at Tufts in 2015, and in an earlier version under the title Deported / A Dream Play by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre at the Modern Theatre. The Women Who Mapped the Stars, about five women who did pathbreaking work in astronomy at Harvard College Observatory, was commissioned and produced by Central Square Theater in 2018; an adaptation toured schools in Maine in 2022. The Oil Thief was commissioned by the Ensemble Studio Theatre / Sloan Project and produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (2009 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Script). A Girl's War was produced by Golden Thread Productions, New Repertory Theatre, and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (Gassner Award, Boston Globe’s “Top Ten” plays of 2001.) Joyce’s plays have been anthologized in Laugh Lines: Short Comic Plays and Contemporary Armenian American Drama. She is a MacDowell Fellow and Huntington Playwriting Fellow, and has taught Shakespeare and playwriting for many years at Harvard Extension School.

Judy Braha 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 and beyond. With a commitment to raising consciousness around the power of the arts as activism, Judy collaborates with Andre de Quadros in the BU College of Fine Arts Prison Arts Project, teaching incarcerated students in Massachusetts’ prisons and jails. They also worked together within the BU community, teaching the socially conscious Collaborative Arts Incubator and the groundbreaking series Race, Prison, Justice, Arts.

As a director, Judy’s work often has concern for human rights at its center: Golda’s Balcony (NEW REP); To Kill A Mockingbird (Gloucester Stage Company); Emilie, La Marquise du Chatelet, Defends Her Life Tonight (Central Square Theater); Othello and I Am Lear, a devised piece on aging (Actor’s Shakespeare Project); The Oil Thief and Deported, a dream play (Boston Playwrights Theater); Our ClassOur Country’s Good, and The Exonerated at BU/School Of Theater; the new work Mr. Fullerton (Great Barrington Public Theater and Gloucester Stage Company); and the East Coast Premiere of Things I Know To Be True at Great Barrington Public Theater where Judy is an Associate Artist.

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 (Julia Ward Howe) is a lover of creative adventure—an actor, director, devisor, and teacher. Elaine 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. Most recently, she was a performer/participant 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. Elaine has been a participant in several Magdalena Transit Festivals at Odin Teatret in Denmark.

She co-founded the Gypsy Mamas Artist Group, a laboratory sustaining adventurous creative exploration and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration in the creation of new work. Gypsy Mamas projects include The Future of IceCreation: Mythic Weavings, and When Jennie Goes Marching.

Elaine has performed and directed at many theatres including American Theatre Arts, New Repertory Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Boston Center for American Performance, Arts After Hours, Bridge Repertory Theatre/Playhouse Creatures, Wheelock Family Theatre, Double Edge Theatre, New Theatre.

In Los Angeles she worked with at-risk youth and marginalized populations implementing forum theatre techniques of Augusto Boal and the Theatre of the Oppressed. For 25 years Elaine taught directing and a physical approach to acting in the School of Theatre at Boston University where she also directed many productions. 

Elaine is thrilled to be embarking upon a new chapter as an independent artist and to be touring Representation and How to Get It this fallin Massachusetts, Maine, and New York. Originally from Los Angeles, she resides on a small farm in Central Massachusetts.

Kaleigha Zawacki is a lighting designer and mixed media artist currently living and working in the Greater Boston area. Her artistic practice explores storytelling, community, and sustainability. Kayleigha’s work can be viewed at (lighting design) and (installation and visual art).

Jacob Morgan Fisch is an Actor, Voice Over Artist, and Sound Designer based in Upstate New York. He is a graduate of the BFA Acting Conservatory at SUNY Purchase College. Most recently he was the resident Sound Designer at Great Barrington Public Theatre for their 2022 Season. Some acting highlights include; Leonardo in Blood Wedding, Neibert in Mud, River, Stone, and Chris Keller in All My Sons. When he’s not acting or designing, Jacob is making music as the lead singer of the band, Moondog Saloon. He is thrilled to be working with Judy again and being a part of the team bringing this tremendous story to life. He would like to thank his fiancée, Emily, and their cats, Skeeter and Gretchen, for their continued love and support.

From the Creators

The mission of this production is to lift the visionary politics of Julia Ward Howe into our own time. Collaborators Elaine Vaan Hogue (actor), Judy Braha (director), and Joyce Van Dyke (playwright) launched the play at the Hardwick Town House in Hardwick, MA, in November 2021, with generous support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and private donors.

We are touring this performance and call to action throughout New England—in historical venues, churches, living rooms, art centers, schools, rural settings, theatres and town squares. The show runs 45 minutes and can be performed anywhere with minimal technical requirements. We want to charge the audience with agency, hope, and a collective sense of the need to take action now.

Learn more about the production: