Their British worlds are more than two centuries apart, but their missions are the same: to shatter glass ceilings and make their voices roar above the men who would hold them back.
Their stories are unfolding this month at Theatre Cedar Rapids, through the Linge Series pairing of the like-minded shows “Shakespeare in Love,” from Friday (3/8) to March 24 in the Auditorium, and “Ada and the Memory Engine,” from March 15 to 31 in the Grandon Studio.
Their extraordinary measures find Viola dressing as a man so she can audition for a Shakespearean play in 1593, a time when women were banned from the stage, and Ada, a writer and mathematician at the dawn of the British Industrial Revolution, who often is considered the first computer programmer, and dares to dream of a future world where art and technology converge.
A discussion series launched last year will delve deeper into these parallel themes and challenges as Theatre Cedar Rapids partners with various area presenters for Beyond the Stage: She is Fierce.
“We think of Beyond the Stage as an opportunity to help facilitate the conversation or thoughts that might be spurred from the ideas presented on the stage — and literally take them beyond the stage,” said Katie Hallman, TCR’s executive director. “We also take a look at what is happening in the community and identify ways that we might amplify the important conversations that are also going on throughout the Corridor, tied to our central themes.”
New partners this year are the Women Lead Change organization, which will present panel discussions on designated show dates and present a two-day conference in April; FilmScene in Iowa City, which in March is showing movies made by women; and the University of Northern Iowa, which has programming exploring women in arts and sciences.
“What excites us the most is that amplification of all the great work that is going on across the communities, and seeing how we can participate even more,” Hallman said.
Friday (3/8), 7:30 p.m.: UNI School of Music International Women’s Day Concert, Great Hall, Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, 8392 University Ave., Cedar Falls. Concert featuring three scenes from the new musical “The Suffragist,” by Cedar Rapids playwright Cavan Hallman and composer Nancy Hill Cobb; free.
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Sunday (3/10), 1 to 2 p.m., Panel discussion: Women in a Man’s World, Grandon Studio, Theatre Cedar Rapids, 102 Third St. SE; free.
March 20, 6:30 p.m., Women in a Man’s World: Discussion and Scenes from TCR’s Linge Series Plays, Whipple Auditorium, Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE; free.
March 24, 1 to 2 p.m., Panel discussion: UNI Women in Science and the Arts, Grandon Studio, Theatre Cedar Rapids; free.
April 6, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., “12,000 Voices: 12 Angry Men Performed by 12 Impassioned Women,” Theatre Cedar Rapids Auditorium; staged reading of Reginald Rose’s drama “12 Angry Men,” as part of the 12000 Voices national initiative over the weekend of April 5 to 8, to bring together 1,000 community colleges, law schools, universities, high schools, community and regional theaters, and community centers to raise their voices as one. Tickets: $10, TCR Box Office, (319) 366-8591 or Theatrecr.org
Throughout March, Cedar Rapids Public Library, Main Lobby; display of books written by female authors using pen names; free.
Women’s March Series, FilmScene, 118 E. College St., Iowa City; every day, every screen, and every showtime in March will be dedicated to presenting films made exclusively by women. Showcase features more than 30 female-directed new release films, cinema classics, Iowa-made features, and dialogues about the female perspective in the industry. Details: Icfilmscene.org/series/womens-march/
Women Lead Change Corridor Conference, April 10 and 11, DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex, 350 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids; keynote speakers including Rachel Hollis, breakout sessions and more; various fee options, $99 students, $550 adults; Wlcglobal.org/events/icr-corridor-conference/