College of Arts and Humanities

‘Little Women’ events highlight Women’s History Month in Clemson

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The Brooks Center for the Performing Arts and the College of Arts and Humanities are partnering to celebrate Women’s History Month in March with three performances of the classic American story, “Little Women,” along with other themed events.

The Clemson Players will put on three shows of the “Little Women” adaptation by Kate Hamill in the Brooks Center. Two performances are open to the public: Saturday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 10, at 3 p.m. On Friday, March 8 at 10 a.m., the Eskridge Tri-ART Series will welcome area schools for a separate show.

To celebrate the month’s events, those who attend are asked to tag social media posts with the hashtag #LittleWomenClemson.

A timeless story

The iconic 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott tells the heartwarming story of the four March sisters in a transformative coming-of-age adventure that explores love, individual growth and sisterhood during the Civil War era. The Wall Street Journal called Hamill’s “feminist-friendly spin” engaging and an “ingenious compression of Alcott’s novel that is by turns funny and painfully poignant.”

An open rehearsal of the play will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 8, and is preceded by a meet and greet opportunity with cast members at 5:30 p.m. in the Bellamy Theatre. Snacks will be provided. Theatre faculty and set designer David Hartmann will guide an onstage set tour open to the public from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, February 29, in the Brooks Center Theatre. Brooks Center for the Performing Arts executive director Janice Crews has served as a crucial bridge in connecting the events together.

‘Little Women’ expert to speak on campus

Louisa May Alcott scholar Gregory Eiselein of Kansas State University will be on campus Thursday, March 7, in Humanities Hall 264 at 3:30 p.m. for a guest lecture on all things “Little Women.” He is a co-editor of “The Louisa May Alcott Encyclopedia” (2001), “Critical Insights: Little Women” (2015) and “Critical Insights: Louisa May Alcott” (2016).

Gregory Eiselein.

Department of English Professor Susanna Ashton was critical in securing the visit, said College of Arts and Humanities Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Michael LeMahieu. One of Ashton’s literature classes will host Eiselein for a private class discussion.

“Dr. Eiselein has had a long career as an Alcott Scholar with multiple publications, books, edited collections, and reviews about Alcott, her work, and the cultural and family context in which she worked,” she said. “Most remarkably, of course, he is president of the Louisa May Alcott Society. But his work is more than just that; he is a distinguished educator who brings his seriousness about young people and their education, their potential, and, indeed, their work to his teaching and his writing about teaching.

“And it isn’t a coincidence that one of his very earliest works about Whitman and the Civil War asks questions about what role humanitarianism has had across American cultural history,” Ashton continued. “If you understand ‘humanitarianism’ as transforming empathy into action, you can see why he is dedicated to thinking about Alcott – a writer who used her empathy as a tool for change in her craft.”

The Humanities Hub, Department of English and College of Arts and Humanities are sponsoring the visit.

A deeper student learning experience

Director Greta Gerwig’s Academy Award-nominated “Little Women” (2019) will be shown in the Watt Family Innovation Center Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. on March 11 through a special screening by the World Cinema program, arranged by the Humanities Hub. Gerwig, who went on to direct the mega-hit “Barbie” (2023), wrote the coming-of-age drama highlighted by an ensemble cast of Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson and Florence Pugh.

A few University classes have incorporated the book into the Spring curriculum to dive deeper into Alcott’s work. LeMahieu’s One Big Book class (HUM 3060) is doing just that.

“Our College embodies the deep affinities between the humanities and performing arts,” he said. “When teaching courses in contemporary literature, I often include a work that is being performed at the Brooks Center, which makes it more interesting and memorable for students.

“The students get a deeper experience,” LeMahieu continued, “by reading the book and then seeing how a performance is put together.”


#LittleWomenClemson Event Schedule

Open Rehearsal x Cast Meet and Greet
February 8, 5:30 p.m.
Bellamy Theatre

Onstage Set Tour
February 29, 5 p.m.
Brooks Center Theatre

Louisa May Alcott Scholar Guest Lecture
March 7, 3:30 p.m.
Humanities Hall 264

‘Little Women’ Public Performances
March 9, 7:30 p.m. and March 10, 3 p.m.
Brooks Center for the Performing Arts

Special Screening of Greta Gerwig’s, ‘Little Women’ (2019)
March 11, 4:30 p.m.
Watt Family Innovation Center Auditorium

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