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Whitworth Theatre 'a great place to learn how to be an artist'

Bryan and Alanna stand with their director on set. They turn toward one another laughing.Bryan Peterson, '15, and Alanna Hamilton, '17, are cast members of Whitworth's upcoming spring theatre production These Shining Lives, which is guest-directed by Spokane Civic Theatre Director Susan Hardie.

Both Peterson and Hamilton say studying theatre at Whitworth has provided tremendous opportunities for academic and personal growth, and they agree that the experiences they've gained are irreplaceable.

Peterson, who plays five different roles in the spring production, says what he appreciates most about Whitworth Theatre is the friendly, collaborative environment. "I always feel comfortable taking chances and challenging myself here," he says. "It's a great place to learn how to be an artist."

Hamilton, who plays the lead character in These Shining Lives, says that one of her favorite parts about Whitworth that extends beyond the theatre program is the faculty. "Every professor I have had has done so much to get to know me and help me succeed in any way possible," she says. "I think that is very inspiring."

She says the theatre faculty members work very hard to create a positive environment that helps students improve their acting abilities, no matter their skill level when they first join the program.

These Shining Lives follows the tragic, true events surrounding the "Radium Girls," a group of women in 1920s Illinois who were employed by a factory to hand-paint watch faces; the women were exposed to radium poisoning as a result. The play examines the lives of four women who face public discrimination, the consequences of corporate greed, and the unknown dangers of the "wonder chemical" radium. The story also explores one of the earliest struggles for worker rights in the U.S.

Hardie says she is thrilled to join Whitworth Theatre for These Shining Lives. "It is a privilege to share this transcendent, true story of four working women who had the courage to stand up to the company that knowingly poisoned them."

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 6, 7, 13 and 14, and at 2 p.m. on March 8. All showings will be staged in Whitworth's Cowles Auditorium. General admission is $10; $8 for students and seniors aged 62 and over.

Tickets for These Shining Lives can be purchased at the door or online at For more information, please call 509.777.4374.