12,000 Voices Aims To Empower Voter Registration Through Theater In A Grass Roots National Initiative
Inspired by the successful reading of the classic play, "Twelve Angry Men," by Reginald Rose featuring 12 extraordinary Broadway actresses, producer Lauren Class Schneider is inviting women in law schools, universities, high schools, community and regional theaters, and community centers across the country to raise their voices - with scripts in hand - in readings of the play with all-female casts over the weekend of April 5-8, 2019.
Following each staged reading of "Twelve Angry Men," audience members, cast, and staff will have the opportunity to update their voter registration. Information will also be shared about how to increase voter registration and voter turnout locally.
"Harnessing the power of storytelling by simultaneously presenting this timeless play around the country, we hope to stimulate community engagement on a local level" said Schneider, who has served as campaign staff on several presidential campaigns along with her experience as a Broadway producer. "Because the play makes a powerful argument for the value of civic involvement, it's a great platform for a voter registration event" she said.
"Rose wrote the original courtroom drama as a teleplay in 1954, some 19 years before women could serve on juries in all 50 states. An all-female cast of this play, at this time, is relevant on so many levels," Schneider said.
Schneider said she chose the name "12,000 Voices" for the initiative because of its aspirational value. "Over the course of time, imagine the reading being performed in 1000 locations, making 12,000 voices."
"Right now, we are working with different groups across the country on their April 5-8th readings," adds Schneider. "I am excited to see how organizations across the country embrace, participate, and lend their voice with their own presentations!"
"When we created the event in September, many of Broadway's brightest female stars lent their talent, showing their desire to strengthen public service. With the help of League of Women Voters, we saw voter registration and involvement increase."
Diane Lees, a League of Women Voters volunteer recalled, "After the reading in September, I saw a change in the audience. An all-female reading of 'Twelve Angry Men' was such a strong motivator to transform spectators into engaged citizens. Watching the audience get in line to register or update their voter information was really gratifying."
To register to host your own reading, or for more information, visit www.12000voices.com.