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13 April 2021



Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony subject of The Agitators

Iowa Stage Theatre Company, central Iowa’s home for award-winning theater that inspires, enlightens and entertains, is presenting Mat Smart’s The Agitators, streaming on from April 23-May 2, 2021.

Images: Library of Congress

The Agitators tells the story of the four and a half decades long friendship between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, their partnership and falling out and coming back together. Douglass, a formerly enslaved person who escaped to freedom, was one of the great American writers of the 19th Century, opposing slavery and campaigning for suffrage for women and the Black community. Anthony was also an abolitionist, having fought her whole life to overturn laws that prevented women from voting, only achieved after her death.

“Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony are icons of American history” Matthew McIver, Artistic Director of ISTC, said. “They fought ceaselessly for civil rights, in particular votes for women and the Black community. Their friendship and partnership illustrate issues and rifts that are still crucial.”

Mat Smart has written 25 full-length plays that have been produced around the country. The Agitators was originally produced at GeVa Theater Center in Rochester, NY, where Douglass and Anthony both lived for decades.

The show will be produced digitally and will be available on Broadway On Demand, both individually and as a three-show package. More information is available at Iowa Stage Theatre Company’s website,

James Serpento, resident artist company member, directs, with Davida Williams assistant directing. Company member Alissa Tschetter-Siedschlaw plays Susan B. Anthony, with Pernell Ferguson playing Frederick Douglass. Jay Jagim has designed the set, with Susanna Douthit designing costumes, Dakota Sommer designing lights and Josh Jepson designing sound. Cinematography and video capture by G. Thomas Furgerson and Media G.

“The struggles of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass are painfully relevant to day” said McIver. “We see case after case of the importance of the vote for Americans. The story of The Agitators is the story of a friendship that shaped a country, and lasted through two extraordinary lives.”

Performance Dates

The Agitators by Mat Smart, April 23-May 2, 2021

Iowa Stage Theatre Company, founded in 2017, is a professional, home-grown theater company in central Iowa that creates high-quality audience experiences of the greatest stories ever told onstage, from the classics to the cutting edge. Led by Artistic Director Matthew McIver, our Resident Artist Company works to transform Iowa, its citizens, and arts community by producing truthful, relevant, and intimate theatre that inspires, enlightens, and entertains. For Press Photos, please contact Laura Jordan at by email at For more information about Iowa Stage Theatre Company, visit us online at

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