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MRT Presents the Premiere of THE LOWELL OFFERING

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) will present the world premiere of The Lowell Offering by Andy Bayiates and Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, the galvanizing true story of Lowell's "Mill Girls," from March 18 to April 12 at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall, according to Executive Director Bonnie J. Butkas and Interim Artistic Director Terry Berliner. Jess Hutchinson directs.

For tickets, contact the Box Office at 978-654-4678 or visit MRT.ORG. Tickets start at $24.

In 1840 in Lowell, MA, a group of factory workers began publishing the world's first magazine written solely by women; it was called The Lowell Offering. The play is the story of the magazine's editor, Harriet Farley, and a labor activist, Sarah Bagley - and the rise and fall of their friendship, the magazine, and Lowell's "Mill Girl" culture.

Berliner said, "The Lowell Offering is a story about the fierce women who came to Lowell, Massachusetts, in the late 1830s. It shines a bright light on the trials and tribulations of those women upon whose back an entire city rested. And, through their unrelenting efforts, the fabric they wove exhibited their sacrifice and strength in creating a modern world where power is given to those who fight for it, work for it, and deserve it."

The Lowell Offering was a monthly literary journal of essays, poetry, fiction, and ballads by female textile workers. The authors often used their stories to report on the horrendous working conditions in the factories. One Mill Girl reported, "The majority [of us] were between the ages of sixteen and twenty-­five . . . forced to be on duty nearly fourteen hours a day. The caste of the factory girl was the lowest among the employments of women. In the eyes of her overseer, she was but a brute, a slave, to be beaten, pinched and pushed about." With thousands of subscribers throughout New England, the journal illuminated the urgent need for the rights of mill workers, and women in general, and catapulted the issues into the political spotlight.

The cast includes Samantha Bowling (Native Voices Ensemble, Informed Consent at The Lantern Theatre) as Betsey Guppy Chamberlain, a part-Native American mill worker; Erin Eva Butcher (Elliot Norton Award nominee for Silent Sky at Flat Earth Theater, The Night Watch at The Gamm) as Harriet Farley, editor of The Lowell Offering; Paige Clark (Macbeth at Actors' Shakespeare Project, Allegiance at SpeakEasy Stage) as Harriet Curtis, a co-editor of The Lowell Offering; Amanda Collins (Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at MRT, The Thanksgiving Play at Lyric Stage Company) as Sarah Bagley, an activist for labor and women's rights and prison reform; and Paul Melendy (The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley at MRT, Vanity Fair at Underground Railway Theater), who will play all of the male roles.

Playwright Genevra Gallo-Bayiates is a writer and performer with a passion for history and personal narrative. She was a longtime ensemble member and the first female artistic director of The Neo-Futurists in Chicago. Husband Andy Bayiates and Aaron Muñoz co-wrote the critically acclaimed MRT production of Lost Laughs: The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle, which was nominated for five IRNE Awards, including Best Play and Best New Play. Andy and Genevra were two of the writers of 45 Plays for 45 Presidents at MRT for the 2016-17 Season.

Jess Hutchinson is a theatre director, dramaturg, advocate, and educator in Chicago. She is the Engagement Manager for the National New Play Network and teaches at DePaul, Northern Illinois, and North Park universities. Recent directing credits include Whose Body? and The Man Who Was Thursday at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago and Mad Beat Hip & Gone at Promethean Theatre in Chicago and the ZACH Theatre in Austin.

In addition to Hutchinson, the creative team includes Eleanor Khan (Hairy Ape and The Mother for Oracle Productions) as Scenic Designer; Miranda Kau Giurleo (The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley and A Christmas Carol at MRT) as Costume Designer; Brian J. Lilienthal (Native Gardens and The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley at MRT); and Lindsay Jones (Slave Play and A Time to Kill on Broadway) as Sound Designer. Jones will also compose original music. Becca Freifeld serves as Production Stage Manager; Betsy Pierce, Assistant Stage Manager.

Circle Health serves as the 2019-20 Season Sponsor. Enterprise Bank serves as Lead Production Sponsor with UMass Lowell as Production Sponsor and WCAP Radio and Merrimack Valley Magazine as Media Sponsors.

Single tickets range in price from $24 to $66. To purchase, visit www.mrt.org or contact the MRT Box Office at 978-654-4678.

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