Summit Theatre Group to deliver powerful story of 1911 'Triangle' fire

A gripping tale of life, loss and labor play out in the upcoming Summit Theatre Group performance of “The Triangle Factory Fire Project.”

Based on actual events in 1911 Manhattan, the play follows the gripping tale of the Triangle Waist Factory fire of Saturday, March 25, 1911 in the downtown Washington Square district. In that building, 500 immigrant workers from Russia, Poland and Italy labored for 14-hour days making women’s dresses. When a cigarette is carelessly tossed into a bin of fabric scraps, what follows is a panicked, harrowing tale that ends in the deaths of 146 immigrant women.

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Using eyewitness accounts, court transcripts and other archives, Summit Theatre Group’s cast and crew will recreate the historic event in the Cultural Arts Center of MCC-Longview’s campus in Lee’s Summit.

A moment-by-moment account of the event will unfold, including the trial of the business owners and the shocking acquittal that drew outrage nationwide, the repercussions of which helped shape social, political and socioeconomic polices for decades to come. The audience will hear actual words from those who were there – from Ukrainian seamstresses to millionaire Fifth Avenue socialites.

Working on a play like this we cannot help but think of the victims and their families, those who experienced this horror firsthand could not have known the impact of their suffering,” Director Mark Hamilton said. :In its aftermath and as a direct result of the Triangle Factory fire, the alarmed public demanded workplace safety reforms which eventually led to the development of OSHA as well as the increasing strength of the Unions insisting on improved worker conditions – all these reforms spread nationwide and continue today. Nor could the victims and helpless onlookers have imagined that, someday, their long-silent voices could speak directly to an audience though this play so that their sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

“The Triangle Fire Factory Project” cast includes: Kenneth Schwartze, Lee’s Summit; Jaggard Lee Williams, Lee’s Summit; Jonah Beard, Lee’s Summit; Eli Biesemeyer, Blue Springs; Kelly Crosby, Blue Springs; Brittany Hill, Peculiar; Emily Jennings, Elaine Christensen, Casye Davidson, Kansas City, Mo.; Lindsay Lovejoy, Overland Park, Kan.; Kristi Hibschman, Prairie Village, Kan.; Marshall Rimann, Lenexa, Kan.; Ted Collins, Olathe, Kan.; Jeannine Blau, Overland Park, Kan.

“The Triangle Fire Factory Project” runs March 16-17, 23-25 at the MCC-Longview Cultural Arts Center, 500 SW Longview Road in Lee’s Summit. Each performance begins at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 25 performance at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults ($12 for students and seniors) and available at either Lee’s Summit HyVee location (East and West).

For more information, contact STG President Ben Martin at 816-522-8387.