“The Duchess of Stringtown” Play Reading

On April 29 at 2:00pm at Indy Convergence (2611 West Michigan Street) there will be a reading of “The Duchess of Stringtown.” The reading of this new play is a part of Bryan Fonseca’s Transformational Impact Fellowship in conjunction with Near West Indys. It is the fascinating story of one of Stringtown’s original business women – a brothel owner in the early days of Indianapolis. This play has been brought to the light and written by Michelle Jones and Anastazia Schmid. Bryan was introduced to these 2 extraordinary writers through Kelsey Kauffman, volunteer director of the Higher Education Program at the  Indiana Women’s Prison.

We intend to produce a series of developmental readings of the play and provide feedback to the writers throughout the course of the summer. This reading is being directed by Gigi Jennewein, actor, director and assistant professor of Communication and Theatre at DePauw University, and will be produced and performed by seasoned professionals and residents of Stringtown.   This is a story of power, money and sex at a critical time in Indianapolis history. Come here this remarkable piece!

Two o’clock Indy Convergence April 29, 2017. 2611 West Michigan Street.  

From the Indianapolis Star- Ann Kitchen’s (Duchess of Stringtown) Funeral described:

A Solemn Scene. According to request a funeral sermon of Mrs. Ann Kitchen, better known as “the Duchess of Stringtown,” and for many years a keeper of a house of prostitution in that suburb, was preached at Indianola Mission last evening by Rev. David Stevenson. The room was crowded with the associates and friends of the deceased, including two of her husbands, and the scene that followed was one of the most remarkable and impressive ever witnessed in this vicinity. The preacher took as his text “It is appointed unto all men once to die, but after that the Judgment,” and delivered a very solemn sermon, which seemed to stir the hearts of all present A great deal of feeling at least, was manifested, but this was increased tenfold when Mrs. Sarah Smith, the Matron of the Home for Friendless Women, rose and addressed the audience from the same text. She dwelt upon the life of the deceased and the many good qualities that she had possessed, but pointed out her great sin, by the side of which her goodness was as nothing, and warned her hearers to take advantage of the time that yet remained to them. She described her many interviews with the deceased, and the efforts she had made to induce her to change her life, and pictured the consequences of sin in the most graphic manner, arousing her hearers to the highest pitch of feeling and leaving scarcely a dry eye in the house. Mrs. Smith closed with a remarkable prayer, in which she singled out some of those present as special objects for God’s mercy. The audience was wrought up to fever point, and an impression was made that will be lasting whether it avails anything or not Mrs. Smith in her address stated that the Duchess during her career had had more than fifteen hundred women and girls in her house, which shows what an influence she must have exerted over hundreds of human souls.”


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