INDEPENDENCE: The True Story of Dr. Mary Walker

INDEPENDENCE: The True Story of Dr. Mary Walker


The National Civil War Museum Proudly Presents INDEPENDENCE: The True Story of Dr. Mary Walker, with Kathie Barnes as Dr. Mary Walker, written and directed by Lloyd J. Schwartz, and produced by Tina Dwyer on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at 1:00 pm, and is Free to the public. This one-act play is followed by a Q&A with the actress.

About the play: A women’s history play about Dr. Mary Walker – Civil War Surgeon, Heroine, and Positive Role Model. This theatre piece brings to the forefront the life of Doctor Mary Edwards Walker, the Only Woman to have been awarded our country’s highest honor, The Congressional Medal of Honor. Living in an era when women had few rights, Dr. Walker didn’t take ‘No’ for an answer, becoming one of the first women to wear pants, to take ‘obey’ out of her marriage vows and the first woman surgeon in the US. A trailblazer for Women’s Rights, Dr. Mary Walker was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls. Several hospitals bear her name, yet most people do not know of her. Dr. Mary Walker is truly a heroine who needs to be known – and through the powerful art of theatre, this is her story.

INDEPENDENCE premiered at Convention Days, the annual celebration of Women’s Rights in Seneca Falls, NY, booked as one of the main events for Mary Walker Day in her hometown – the Town of Oswego, NY, – and has been performed in theatres, and universities (including Princeton University) and high schools.

About the Artists:

KATHIE BARNES (Dr. Mary Walker) has enjoyed a wide variety of roles in film, television and even digital having been a series regular in Warner Brothers first online series DECEPTION. Other favorite roles include a semi­ regular role on ABC’s “All My Children”, Laura in “The Guiding Light” and Nona in the film “Jimmi”. She previously worked with author/director Lloyd J. Schwartz on two of her favorite theatrical roles, “What Are We Going to Say to Her?” and the poignant “Poems for Mary.” Other favorite theatre roles include Agnes in “Dancing at Lughnasa” (Beverly Hills Outlook Award – Best Actress nomination), Cora in “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs”, and Deeny in “The  Old  Neighborhood”.  Also, Emily and The Wife in “Bradbury X 2” (Valley Theatre League Award – Best Actress nomination) produced by Ray Bradbury’s Pandemonium Theatre Company. As a member of Ray Bradbury’s extended family, she was asked to read a passage written by Ray at the “Ray Bradbury Read” in Los Angeles in August 2016 along with Joe Montegna and others. She has also been privileged to bring to life some of Ray Bradbury’s other exquisitely written characters, including Blanch Hillgood in ‘The Day It Rained Forever” and Helen Loomis in ‘The Swan”. Other interests include Saving the Tiger – and anything to do with tigers. A lifelong dream came true in 2016 when she went to India and stayed on Tiger Reserves, living with and tracking tigers in the wild.

She notes that Dr. Mary Walker is truly a hero and she is honored to portray her.

LLOYD J. SCHWARTZ (Playwright/Director) Though a prolific writer/ producer in TV and Movies (Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, Alice, and Baywatch), Lloyd is proudest of his accomplishments in theatre. He has had 34 produced plays and has won 16 Valley Theatre League Awards in directing and writing for comedies, dramas, musicals and children’s theatre. In 1985, Schwartz co-founded The Storybook Theatre of Los Angeles with his wife, Barbara Mallory. Storybook Theatre has been honored by both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives.

Lloyd’s inspiration to write this play:  “I subscribe to ‘American History’ magazine. I came across a one-page article about Dr. Mary Walker.  I had never heard of her, but her life was fascinating.  Why didn’t I know her? Why didn’t everybody?”

TINA DWYER (Producer) Once completing her degree in Women’s and Gender Studies at The College of New Jersey she pursues her passion in bringing untold stories of the many women who have marched before us and for us. As Producer, Tina contacts venues, universities and theaters , seeks sponsors, creates bookings, negotiates contracts and for some productions gives cues in the booth. She also spearheads and books outreach workshops in association with performances, as well as she and Kathie guest lecture in classes on Women’s Studies.

What Tina hopes you take away from seeing this play: ALL POSITIVE ROLE MODELS ARE IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE!

INDEPENDENCE was developed at Theatre West, Los Angeles

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