Director: Barbara Guertin Lighting Design: Robert Dookhran Photography: Frank Bartucca Stage Manager: Tasha Matthews Featuring: Robbin Joyce as Mother Jones
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1837-1930) was an Irish-American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer. She helped coordinate major strikes and cofounded the Industrial Workers of the World. After her husband and four children died of Yellow Fever and her workshop was destroyed in a fire in 1871, she began working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers union. From 1897, at around 60 years of age, she was known as Mother Jones. In 1902 she was called “the most dangerous woman in America” for her success in organizing mine workers and their families against the mine owners. In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children’s March from Philadelphia to the summer home of then president Theodore Roosevelt in Oyster Bay, New York.
A one-woman tour-de-force featuring Robbin Joyce in the role of Mother Jones
Facebook Review by Paul Kolas (Theatre Critic for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette): Listen up everyone, who lives within driving distance of The Worcester Historical Museum, located at 30 Elm St. in Worcester, MA. I urge you to see a very special one-woman show this weekend. Mary Harris Jones, better known as Mother Jones, was a pioneering crusader if there ever was one. Robbin Joyce brings her to brilliant, irascible life with a bravura performance that is as edifying as it is entertaining. Labeled “The Most Dangerous Woman,” Mother Jones was a schoolteacher and dressmaker who dedicated her life to organizing mine workers into defying the horrid working conditions imposed on them by avaricious mine owners, and later upending child labor laws in Pennsylvania mines and silk factories. Joyce inhabits this Irish force of nature with piquant wit, moral outrage, and mesmerizing tenacity. The Worcester Historical Museum is the perfect setting for a production that combines theater and history into an indelible experience, astutely directed by Barbara Guertin.4