How the Vote Was Won - October 01 - October 02, 2020

College of Charleston Department of Theatre and Dance


How the Vote Was Won was originally written in the year 1909 in support of British women’s suffrage, which hadn’t been achieved yet. Unearthing this historical play gives us a chance to celebrate two milestones that are significant for our time: the (belated) 100th anniversary of their victory in Britain, and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment being passed here in the United States. When Dr. Kattwinkel connected the women’s struggles with the current number of eligible citizens who don’t vote by remarking that we shouldn’t waste our hard-earned votes, I was quite intrigued. As a religious studies student, I’ve had to deeply immerse myself in history, and honestly, there’s been no more exciting time to do so than to research the historical aspects behind this message and make positive contributions to our society at the same time. I’ve thus created a series of PSAs to go with the show to encourage people to vote, as well as the play’s blog at and sheets with my annotations of the play to share other relevant material like the history behind the women’s suffrage movement.


Speaking of annotations, the play, being from the Edwardian era, contains some words that are both chiefly British and dated that I'd like to explain for you. In order, these include:


  • Guardians: Boards of Guardians, in the UK, were authorities who administered workhouses for dependents and enforced the Poor Law for poverty relief.
  • Object lesson: the use of a physical object, action, or situation as a lesson.
  • Dreadnought: a British type of battleship introduced around 1906 and especially used in the WWI era, noted for its large-caliber guns.
  • Footer matches: “Footer” being short for football, which we would call soccer.
  • Charwoman: a woman employed to clean houses or offices (British, dated).
  • Tuppence: two pence.
  • Fagged: tired (British).
  • Rot: nonsense (British).
  • Bounder: a dishonorable man (British, dated).
  • Hullo: a British spelling of hello, used as an exclamation of surprise.
  • What ho: an expression used to attract attention (British, colloquial, dated).
  • Locus standi: a right to be heard (before a court or otherwise).


Our hope is that you’ll be fascinated, amazed, and inspired by this masterpiece.

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