We are thrilled to share that our upcoming production of Duchess of Stringtown has received national attention in the New York Times!
On Wednesday, an article was published about Michelle Jones, a former inmate at the Indiana Women’s Prison and one of the original authors of Duchess of Stringtown. The Duchess of Stringtown is a historical play that tells the story of how a brothel in Stringtown became the stumbling block for Stringtown’s annexation to Indianapolis. The Duchess’s nemesis was Sarah Smith, who ran a women’s shelter which eventually led to the development of the Indiana Women’s prison. The play exposes the abuse of women by the state’s formal institutions including unlawful medical experimentation and rape. It also comments on corrupt politicians and clergy. The duchess’s murder remains unsolved.
The original script was written by Jones and Anastazia Schmid, also an inmate at the Indiana Women’s Prison. They used every resource at their disposal to learn about the prison’s history and write this script, bringing an important piece of local history to the stage. Through the Transformational Impact Grant from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, we have had the incredible opportunity to bring in playwright Toni Press Coffman and help bring this show to life.
We will have a closed reading this weekend and are moving forward with a full production in December at Indy Convergence. You never know where such a powerful project may lead, so there may be even more down the road. We will be releasing more information about the production as we get closer to December, so be on the lookout for updates here, on our social media pages! You can sign up for e-mail updates here!