Votes for Women! (1907) is a play by American actress, writer, and suffragette Elizabeth Robins. Having established herself as one of England's leading actresses with her productions of Henrik Ibsen's dramas, Robins retired from the stage to pursue a writing career. Votes for Women!, inspired by Robins' own activism as a suffragette, was the first major play to represent the movement on stage. Despite its lukewarm reception and controversial subject matter, Robins' work would inspire countless other so-called suffragette plays, not only making space in the male-dominated theatrical world for plays written by, for, and about women, but also reclaiming the political influence of the dramatic arts in order to promote a contemporary social struggle.
The play opens in the opulent Wynnstay House, a country home in Hertforshire owned by Lady and Lord John Wynnstay. There, Vida Levering, a militant activist for women's suffrage, prepares to leave for a rally in Trafalgar Square. Defending her political beliefs and motivations against the skepticism and conservative values of her hosts, Miss Levering stays true to her values and leaves for London with a renewed sense of purpose. At the crowded demonstration held at one of London's most iconic sites, a symbol of state power and military might, Miss Levering works up the courage to address the gathered people. Initially nervous, she overcomes hecklers and her own fears to deliver a rousing speech in support of women's suffrage, powerfully demonstrating the determination necessary to resist the powers that be in order to achieve what must and will be done. Votes for Women! is a captivating work of political theater from one of the leading actresses and dramatists of the early twentieth century.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Elizabeth Robins' Votes for Women! is a classic of English literature reimagined for modern readers.
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