Engage2020 presents a theatrical experience: "Failure is Impossible"

Local professional actresses to portray real-life heroes and heroines of the suffragist movement in "Failure is Impossible."

One hundred years ago this very month, women earned the right to vote.

In celebration of this epic moment in our nation’s history, the centennial of the 19th Amendment, Engage2020 presents a filmed theatrical performance for the whole family of the short play, Failure is Impossible.

Playwright Rosemary Knower was originally commissioned to write the script in 1995 for the 75th-anniversary commemoration at the National Archives. The piece uses eyewitness accounts and original documents—drawing in great detail and accuracy from the Congressional Record, personal letters within the government’s legislative records, petitions to Congress and archival sources (newspaper editorials, diaries, memoirs, etc.)—to provide a dramatized account of the debate for women’s suffrage. And what a debate it was.

To bring this struggle to life, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Theatrical Training Team hired a team of talented local professional actresses (in fact, faces that Charlotte families might recognize from Children’s Theatre of Charlotte shows at ImaginOn) to portray real-life heroes and heroines of the suffragist movement such as Sojourner Truth, Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, Lucy Stone, and Susan B. Anthony.

This family-friendly, digital theatre experience supports the ongoing goal of Engage 2020: to connect the community in a conversation around the history of voting in the United States, past and current civic and social trends, as well as to spotlight the history of voting rights, particularly concerning women and women of color.

In this election year, the Library is partnering with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) offering special programs like this—which received generous support from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ "She Changed the World" project—to encourage everyone to look back at past accomplishments and to move forward with empowerment to make a difference in one's community. Learn more about Engage 2020 here.

We hope you enjoy the show and that it inspires youth and adults alike to join the conversation.