Pamplin Media Group – New Century Players celebrates the quest for women’s suffrage


Milwaukie-based community theater, Molalla resident helps bring Abigail Duniway’s story to life

A Milwaukie-based community theater troupe wanted to honor the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. But pandemic restrictions shut down both New Century Players sites in 2020, so the nonprofit theater board of directors decided to put on a play, film it, and put free copies of the production on. the provision of museums, schools and other organizations.

NCP received a $ 2,500 grant from the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition to pay the fees. Melody Ashford, executive director of Willamette Falls Studios in Oregon City, and her crew filmed the production in August.

“There I Take My Stand”, written by Portland author John Richard Trtek, is a portrait of Abigail Scott Duniway, a 19th century women’s rights activist, and her brother Harvey Scott, longtime editor. by The Oregonian. It revolves around the issue of women’s suffrage, which divides the two, and features a dialogue drawn from the couple’s own writings and remarks.

Although the play is set in Oregon in the early 1900s, it is relevant to today’s world because voter rights are still an issue, said Julie Akers, who ran the production. Akers added that voters of color still do not have the same access to polls as white voters. But young people can now largely take their rights for granted as Abigail Duniway has spent 40 years of her life fighting for women’s suffrage.

“This is an important story on the history of Oregon,†Akers said.

Elisabeth Goebel, managing director of NCP and resident of Oak Grove, played Duniway in the production.

“I admired Abigail’s passionate dedication to the cause. She stood up in front of her opponent and let him know exactly where she stood and what she wanted,†she said.

“And women’s suffrage has been rejected five times in Oregon; he only succeeded in the sixth attempt (in 1912). This was accomplished by incredible women, who had to convince enough male voters that women’s votes should count as much as men’s votes, “Goebel added.

Mollala resident Ron Palmblad played Duniway’s brother and noted that “bringing a historical figure to life is always a challenge, especially in this case with so little background material available.”

The production spoke to him personally as well, as his great-grandparents emigrated to Oregon around the same time as the Scott family.

He added, “Putting a face to some local landmarks and feeling some kind of connection was very interesting. ”

Free DVDs of the play are now available for schools, museums and historical societies; people who want copies have to pay minimal shipping and handling charges. The group also hopes to stage live productions of the play in 2022, if venues become available.

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