Amelia Community Theatre presents the drama Radium Girls on its main stage for ten performances in June. Written by D. W Gregory, the show is a fictionalized account of the true-life stories of the young women who were hired as dial painters by the U.S. Radium Corporation and exposed to radium poisoning. Set in Orange, New Jersey from 1918-1928, it is an inspiring story of the women’s fight for justice, and the struggle of conscience in the corporate and scientific communities.
By the end of World War I, the U.S. Radium Corporation had a contract to supply the military with radioluminescent watches. Most of their workers were young women whose smaller hands were better suited for the exacting work. They were told that the radium paint was safe and were encouraged to use their lips to bring the paint brushes to a fine point.
When the dialpainters began to have serious health problems, the corporation assumed no responsibility. To the contrary, they hired consultants who told the women the problems were caused by poor diet or hygiene.
The play focuses on Grace, a dialpainter whose life is upended by her medical issues. She refuses to take a minimal settlement or one that puts the blame on the workers. Instead, she reaches out to a consumer advocate and an attorney to help her get her day in court.
Directed by Linda McClane, the cast includes Karina Jimenez, Sharon Parker, and Clarisse Phillips as dialpainters; Carol Bolton and Peggy Strickland as journalists; John Chastine, Ron Kurtz, Eric Linden, and Richard Smith as the company men; Diana Herman, Joe Wall, and Lisa Howard-Welch as family supporters; Elmer Smith and Jayme Taylor as advocates for the women, and Alexis Nix as Marie Curie.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on June 10-11, 16-18, 23-25 and at 2 p.m. on June 12 and 19 at 207 Cedar Street. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students, available at AmeliaCommunityTheatre.org and by calling the box office at (904) 261-6749. Box office hours are 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday and ninety minutes before curtain on show dates.
Radium Girls is produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.
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