Opening their 2022-23 season, the UK Department of Theatre and Dance will present D.W. Gregory’s Radium Girls, in the Briggs Theatre, 127 Fine Arts Building. Performances begin Thursday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. and run through Sunday, October 16 at 2:00 p.m.
The set for Radium Girls was designed by Interiors student Caitlin Herndon. “I love the relationship between Interior Design and Theatre; there is so much opportunity for design when telling stories on a stage,” she said.
It was important for Herndon that the design evoked the same sense of uncertainty, emotions, and aspirations as those being told in the story. “The design is inspired by German Expressionism, the real-life factory in Orange County, New Jersey, and the idea of showcasing the complexities of the characters’ lives. For this production, specifically, it was beneficial to utilize the existing elements of the theatre to further emphasize and create the industrial atmosphere of the factory.”
In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie was an international celebrity, and luminous watches the latest rage—until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, Radium Girls traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court. Her chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, an idealistic man who cannot bring himself to believe that the same element that shrinks tumors could have anything to do with the terrifying rash of illnesses among his employees.
As the case goes on, however, Grace finds herself battling not just with the U.S. Radium Corporation, but with her own family and friends, who fear that her campaign for justice will backfire. “Radium Girls is a powerful story told by an exceptionally talented ensemble,” says Peter Allen Stone, director. “Grace Fryer’s fight for justice resonates with so many working people today.”
Radium Girls is produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.