The Bessie Carruthers Study Club
After its initial success at the 2019 Island Fringe Festival in Charlottetown, The Bessie Carruthers Study Club returns to the stage at the historic Souris Show Hall this month with two performances. The Bessie Carruthers Study Club is a playful, thoughtful and amusing portrayal of women’s history. The musical is about PEI’s own suffragette history and transports audiences back to the transformative year of 1919, imagining a meeting between two very real women—Bessie Carruthers, a Women’s Institute activist from Charlottetown who played a vital role in advocating for women’s suffrage on PEI, and Miss Ethel Smyth, now known as Dame Smyth, a British musician and suffragette, whose legacy as a significant composer of the 20th century has been more recently rediscovered and celebrated.
Produced by Pirate Jenny Productions, the play stars Suzanne Campbell as Bessie and Jennifer King as Ethel. Campbell is a celebrated mezzo-soprano and vocal instructor who recently contributed to the 2023 ECMA Choral Recording of the Year award-winning album by the women’s vocal ensemble, Sirens. King is a Halifax-based pianist, recording artist, and recipient of the ECMA Classical Recording of the Year award for her album, O Mistress Moon: Canadian Edition. The chemistry between Campbell and King, complemented by King’s formidable piano skills, has garnered widespread acclaim. The play sold out its run in 2019, captivating audience members of all ages.