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Shepherd University presents ‘The Vagina Monologues’ as fundraiser

By Staff | Feb 21, 2019

The cast of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”, presented by Shepherd University and directed by Annie Lewin and Gabrielle Tokach. Thomas Girod

SHEPHERDSTOWN Shepherd University opened Reynolds Hall to Eve Ensler’s award-winning play, “The Vagina Monologues” this past weekend, to raise awareness and funds for local women’s empowerment and rights organizations.

“The Vagina Monologues” production is no stranger to the auditoriums of Shepherd University. For the 2019 production of the award-winner, directors Annie Lewin and Gabrielle Tokach organized a well-received production and continued the conversation about violence against women and its survivors. After the third production, the cast and crew hosted a screening of Ensler’s TED talk and discussion about “sex, gender and how this effects members of transgender, non-binary and gender expansive communities” at the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, presented by Hagerstown Hopes, Eastern Panhandle Pride, Shepherd University and the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

The production was a part of a yearly movement called V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. This movement is spread across campuses and communities around the world, informing as many as possible on the harsh realities of these instances of violence.

According to Annie Lewin, Shepherd University’s Title IX coordinator and co-director of the production, the V-Day commemoration makes a difference in the Eastern Panhandle.

“It is a way for us to raise money [for the beneficiaries], but it also gives us the opportunity to have this conversation about the experiences of women and the different types of violence that women experience,” Lewin said. “To empower the women, perform it, and empower the community and the audience all at the same time. It’s a global movement that creates an atmosphere to be talking about this violence and empowerment and sex in all these different ways.”

Ninety percent of the funds generated from the production have been donated to the Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center, while the other 10 percent was donated to the V-Day Frontline Resistors Fund.

Located in Martinsburg, EPEC “provides emergency support services for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and human trafficking in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia,” according to its website. The organization is free and confidential, built on the vision that every person has the right “be safe, empowered and free from violence or the fear of violence.”

The V-Day Frontline Resistors Fund is the fund directly supporting the efforts and service of the V-Day global movement, currently celebrating its 20th year. Originating from the moment Ensler produced her award-winning play, the organization is cited as calling the production as “more than just a theatrical experience; it is an artistic uprising, a radical act, an act of resistance.”