NC Stage & League of Women Voters Offer
Frances Perkins, a Chautauqua Show
Meet the woman behind the New Deal. That’s the idea behind the presentation of Frances Perkins, A Chautauqua Show, presented jointly by the Asheville-Buncombe County League of Women Voters and NC Stage Company March 5. The show is especially timely during the current slow recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009.
Perkins, the first woman to serve in the U.S. cabinet, was Secretary of Labor throughout Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency, from 1933 through 1945. The Social Security Act was her brainchild, as was a long list of other New Deal programs that helped salvage America’s social contract during the Great Depression and led to broadly shared prosperity for decades after.
Perkins came into office with a “Plan of Ideas”—an agenda for social justice that included workman’s compensation, unemployment insurance, old-age insurance, abolition of child labor, the 40-hour week, a minimum wage, work relief for the jobless, a revitalized federal employment service, and health insurance. Over the next 12 years, the “Frances Perkins List of Ideas” would translate into Social Security, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Fair Labor Standards Act; the only goal she didn’t accomplish was a national health insurance plan. Ironically, Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, the year Perkins died at age 85.
Actress Caroline McIntyre, who has been a history teacher, theater manager, and corporate presenter, is a fourteen-year veteran of Chautauqua performances, in which she weaves the stories of heroic women into the fabric of their historical times and inspires the audience to question the historic figure directly. Chautauqua runs in her veins, as both her mother and father were on the Chautauqua Circuit in the 1930s.
She earned a BA in history from Bucknell University and her MA in history from New York University. As a Chautauqua performer she recreates the roles of three of her personal heroes—Perkins; Rachel Carson, fountainhead of the environment movement and author of Silent Spring; and Mary Draper Ingles, a Virginia frontierswoman captured by Shawnee Indians.
Tickets for Frances Perkins: A Chautauqua Show are $19.50 for adults, $10 for students with ID. Doors open at 6:00p.m. for hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar; the performance starts at 7:00 p.m. All proceeds benefit the League and NC Stage Company.
For more information about the production contact the League of Women Voters at firstname.lastname@example.org; for tickets, contact NC Stage at 239-0263 or www.ncstage.org.
Read more articles in:A + E