How the Vote Was Won
In 2009 we launched a project ‘Suffragettes – 100 Years Performing for the Vote’ to mark the 100th anniversary the formation of the Actresses Franchise League, an organisation of actresses and other workers in theatre – playwrights, directors, stage managers, elocution teachers, male actors – to campaign for votes for women. Part of this project’s aims was to document their work in creating campaigning theatre and record the histories of individuals active in and around the League.The project was support by the Arts Council and for this we staged several suffragette plays at the Orange Tree Theatre.
With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2010 we built on this work with the project ‘How the vote was Won’ which focused on the Suffrage movement in the Richmond area.
With the HLF funding we delivered an exhibition on the way the suffragettes used the arts to campaign for the vote. We also included information about local suffragettes such as Princess Duleep Singh who campaigned on the basis of No Vote No Tax in Hampton Court.
Curated by Susan Croft and Irene Cockroft, Irene also loaned her unique collection of enamelled jewelry by suffragette Ernestine Mills for the exhibition. Over 5000 people attended the exhibition at Museum of Richmond from all over the world.
In addition we ran several workshops for schools and provided talks by speakers such as Dame Shirley Williams. A historic walk was also offered looking at places of interest connected with the suffrage movement.
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Further elements of this project were:
- two books Art, Theatre and Women’s Suffrage by Irene Cockroft and Susan Croft an exploration of the creative explosion that occurred when the campaign for the vote brought together the talents of so many female writers and artists at the start of the 20th century and Votes for Women and other plays, edited and Introduced by Susan Croft a collection of Edwardian plays.
- Programmed a series of Talks including one by British politician and academic Shirley Williams.
- Ran a number of guided walks looking at the Suffragette history in the Richmond area
- Ran workshops in local schools on the suffragettes
- Conserved historical and suffragette items
- Undertook new research on the discovery of Asian princess, Sophia Duleep Singh, from Hampton who was a suffragette
- Staged the play ‘How the Vote was won’ at the Orange Tree Theatre to celebrate the centenary of the play being performed in the borough at Twickenham town Hall in 1910
You can see the results of this project in more detail on our dedicated website The Suffragettes – How the Vote Was Won.