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Birmingham Festival Theatre
presents
Lillian Hellman's
THE CHILDREN'S HOUR
Directed by Edward C. Miller

Show Times

March 8,9,10,15,16,17,22,23,24 at 8 p.m.
Matinee in Birmingham on March 18 at 2:30 p.m.
Check Schedule and Information for ticket prices.

Special Presentation at Lyon Hall, Demopolis, on March 11 at 3 p.m. as part of the Hellman Wyler Festival!

A Letter of Invitation from Director Edward C. Miller

Don't be fooled by the title. This stunning and provocative piece is anything but child's play. When I first read "The Children's Hour" as a theatre student in the 1970's, my professor was quick to point out that Lillian Hellman was "the greatest female playwright this country has produced." Nothing has changed. Her works still rank as the finest collection of theatre penned by an American woman author.

In her mid-twenties, Hellman thought her writing career was at an end.
Her published works were a handful of insignificant stories of failed romance. Resigning herself to a lack of talent, she became an editor -- thinking she could at least "recognize a lack of talent" in others.

Dashiell Hammet, her companion at the time, suggested that a compilation of British court cases might provide excellent material for a play. Hellman picked from the collection "Closed Doors or The Great Drumsheugh Case" and soon the play "The Children's Hour" was on its way to being produced. It is based on a true story of a slander case in 1810 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The story of a lie, which takes on a life of its own, is about two teachers at a private boarding school for girls.

Two interesting sidebars surround the original Broadway production in
1934: (1) The Pulitzer Prize Committee refused to consider "The Children's Hour" for its drama award (apparently objecting to the subject matter) and awarded the drama prize to Zoe Akin's "The Old Maid." The Committee broke its own rules by awarding that year's prize to an "adapted" and not an "original" script; and (2) as a result of that action, outraged New York theatre critics created the Drama Critics Circle Award which continues today as one of New York theatre's most prestigious awards.

As excited as I am about the upcoming production, the fact that it is a part of the Hellman Wyler Festival only adds to my excitement. Lillian Hellman and William Wyler, two artists with Alabama connections, each acclaimed on their own, collaborated on several projects including the films "Little Foxes" and "The Children's Hour." Both "The Little Foxes" in Demopolis and "The Children's Hour" in Birmingham are being performed as part of the Festival. I hope you will be able to enjoy several of the Festival events listed within the schedules on this website.

Please set aside an evening in March to share with this outstanding cast headed by Jessica Clark, Meredith Murphy, Carole Armistead, Caroline Page, and Miss Sandra Taylor. I promise you will not be disappointed.

See you at the Theatre.
Edward C. Miller, Director, BFT's "The Children's Hour"

CAST AND CREW OF THE PRODUCTION
Actor/Actress Role/Position

Aubrey Weaver..........................Peggy Rogers
Rebecca Beacham......................Catherine
Maegan Anderson.......................Lois Fisher
Carole Armistead........................Lily Mortar
Katherine Burcham......................Evelyn Munn
Jessica Holdnak..........................Helen Burton
Natalie Riegel.............................Rosalie
Caroline Page.............................Mary Tilford
Meredith Murphy.........................Karen Wright
Jessica Clark..............................Martha Dobie
Brad Watkins.............................Joe Cardin
April Miller.................................Agatha
Sandra Taylor............................Amelia Tilford
Alex Arnold................................Grocery Boy
Edward C. Miller..........................Director
Gillian Puffer...............................Stage Manager
Haden Marsh..............................Costumier
Gaines Marsh..............................Assistant Director
Mindy Wester.............................Set/Light Design
Xander Booker............................Art
Heath Mixon...............................Producer

About Birmingham Festival Theatre

Founded in 1972, Birmingham Festival Theatre is the oldest theatre in Birmingham that produces contemporary and classic theatre. It is managed by an all volunteer board of directors currently headed by Judy Jones, President. Since its founding, BFT has staged over 200 productions that have involved more than 50 directors, almost 1,000 actors and 500 crew people. During its history, BFT has entertained almost 100,000 audience members. BFT is proud to be a part of the Hellman Wyler Festival.

     
  For Information contact:
The Hellman Wyler Festival

Birmingham Festival Theatre:
205-933-2383
Marengo County Historical Society:
334-289-0282