A letter from the director of Welcome to the Doll Den
Welcome to the Doll Den is an original show that Electric Eye Ensemble has been working on for almost a year. As the director, the process of researching and crafting the story has been extremely meaningful, and I wanted to share a little bit about that process with you today.
About a year and a half ago, while going down a rabbit hole of google research, I happened upon a podcast by the independent radio producers the Kitchen Sisters about the first all-women’s radio station. The station, called WHER, was founded in 1955 in Memphis, Tennessee by Sam Phillips and his wife Becky. Sam is best known as the music producer who first recorded Elvis.
I was shocked that I had never heard about this station before. These women were not just innovators, but feminists in the deepest sense of the word. They worked every day for almost 20 years to chip away at the notion that women's voices and points of view did not belong on the radio. But when I first started immersing myself in their story, I found their actions didn’t always feel very feminist from my 21st century perspective. They called themselves “girls” on air, waved and smiled from the back of convertibles in parades, and decorated their studio in lingerie. What I’ve learned from working on this material is that all of these things were necessary in order for them to succeed. And that the concept of success can appear in many different forms.
The show that we are developing is not a true to life, historical telling of the WHER story, and in fact we’ve intentionally changed the call letters of the station to WGAL so that audiences know the play is not fully biographical. It is rather a window into their world, inspired by historical events, and also informed by the current political situation. Ours is a play about both a certain moment in history and a pertinent reminder of what we’re still fighting for today.
I hope that you will be able to join us for furture productions of this show (more info coming soon!). We’ve grown so much from working with this material and we hope that you too may find a new perspective or appreciation for the women who fought before us.
Artistic Director, Electric Eye Ensemble