Tallmadge's Frank Chaff IV to direct 'In the Company of Women' at Hower House

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Local Director Frank Chaff IV will direct Tallmadge High School Alumni and several local actresses in the sixth annual spring production at the Hower House.

Area audiences will have the opportunity to be in on all the fun as Blanche Hower celebrates her 65th birthday. Actresses for the production of "In the Company of Extraordinary Women" will recreate Hower's 65th birthday party for all to enjoy.

"It's like taking a walk back in time," said Chaff.

"In the Company of Extraordinary Women" will be performed March, 15 and 16 at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Hower House, 60 Fir Hill (corner Fir Hill and Forge Street) on The University of Akron campus.

Chaff said he enjoyed researching Blanche Hower and found her to be an extraordinary woman.

According to research from the Hower House, Blanche was concerned about quality education. Around the mid-1920s she tried to launch a trade school in Akron for young men who were migrating to Akron from the rural South to work in the factories, which were booming then.

A visionary who wanted to provide a school with a full curriculum not just trade training, Hower opened the Milton Otis Hower Trade School in 1927 to honor the memory of her late husband, even funding the first full year herself.

This led to her running for a seat on the Akron School Board and with backing of the local business owners who wanted an educated work force.

Blanche also worked tirelessly to promote women's right to vote which was achieved in 1920. She was a suffragette and lifetime member of the Ohio Suffragette Society. She believed that women should have the right to work outside the home, which was a radical idea at the time.

"There are many things that Blanche accomplished in her lifetime, many of them after her 'special birthday' in 1925," said Linda Bussey, Hower House director. "I think by the 1920s she was just getting warmed up."

Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students. Limited seating is available and prepaid reservations are required. Call 330-972-6909 for more information.

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