These Shining Lives

UCSB Department of Theater and Dance presents a poignant portrait of early 20th century female factory workers in Melanie Marnich's drama.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 8 p.m.

Where: UCSB Performing Arts Center, 552 University Rd., Goleta

Cost: $13 - $17

Age limit: Not available

Categories: Theater


In 1922 the Radium Dial Company established a dial-paining studio in Ottawa, Illinois. By 1925 the Ottawa studio became the largest dial-painting studio in the United States, producing over 4,000 glow-in-the-dark watch dials per day. The company offered the ideal employment opportunity for young women in the 1920s and 1930s, with enjoyable work and competitive pay. But the job that offered these young women a newfound freedom soon became their worst nightmare. In 1927 the first female dial painter died of what would later be diagnosed as extreme radium poisoning. Thirty-four more documented cases (and probably many more undocumented) followed suit over the next fifteen years. However in 1936 Catherine Wolfe Donahue and a small group of fellow dial painters filed a lawsuit against the Radium Dial Company. The company appealed the case seven times. Catherine Donahue died in 1938 without ever seeing a cent of compensation. Finally, in 1939, the US Supreme Court denied Radium Dial's last appeal, and the Radium Dial workers were awarded $16,000.

THESE SHINING LIVES celebrates how, in the midst of a nation recovering from war and suffering a major economic depression, a small group of people can find strength in gathering together to fight for their labor and healthcare rights, to hold big business accountable for the human casualties it leaves in its wake. The women in this play made incredible strides in making their voices heard, and proving that their lives and health matter.

Because of the intimate size of the Performing Arts Theater, patrons are advised to buy tickets in advance. The Department of Theater and Dance is located amidst some of the newest facilities on campus, including a well-lit parking structure (Lot 22) close to performance venues. Patrons with special needs should contact the department by calling (805) 893-3022. The department's productions are not targeted to children.

Phone: 805-893-7221

Event posted Oct. 18, 2012
Last updated Nov. 14, 2012


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