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East Lynne Theater Tackles Mental Health with Virtual Reading of “Not Above A Whisper"

Photo Courtesy of ELTC

East Lynne Theater Company is showing that your story matters, even during the Coronavirus pandemic, as they present a virtual play reading of “Not Above A Whisper.”

The 40-minute staged reading will open Tuesday, August 18 at 8:00 PM through Friday, August 21 at 7:59 PM.

The two-person play, which follows the journey of Dix and Dearing, will be presented on the Theater Company’s YouTube Channel which is accessible at or by clicking below.

The story takes place in the 1840s and follows Dorthea Lynde Dix, who was a social reformer and advocate for the mentally ill. Her mission was to help those who couldn’t help themselves.

Dix is credited with creating the first generation of American mental asylums and monumentally changing the treatment and care for the mentally ill.

“The project began when ELTC’s artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, was granted a commission by The Smithsonian Institution to write a play about mental health advocate Dorothea Lynne Dix. It premiered at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. in April 1983, with Stahlhuth and her husband Lee O'Connor performing. During the next four years, they toured “Not Above a Whisper” to mental health organizations throughout the country,” according to a press release from the theater company.

Stahlhuth and O’Connor will be reprising the roles they first performed 37 years ago.

Gayle Stahlhuth and Lee O’Connor rehearsing “Not Above a Whisper”
Photo Courtesy of ELTC

As America currently experiences an extreme political divide, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment this month. East Lynne Theater Company feels “it is important to note how women had to make their voices heard in government, prior to this date.”

“Dix spent two years documenting treatment of the mentally ill just in the state of Massachusetts, however, it was Dr. Howe, who read her findings before the State Legislature,” says Gayle Stahlhuth, Artistic Director of East Lynne Theater Company.

“No woman, at that time, was allowed to deliver such requests in person. Dix traveled to every state to compile evidence about the horrific conditions for the mentally ill, and in every state, she had to find a man to speak for her in State Legislatures. Fortunately, there were men like Dr. Howe, who believed in her cause. In 1843, he married Julia Ward, who later wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

While tickets are not required for this event donations are strongly requested.

More information on this can be found at

Also, be sure to visit, for updates on ELTC’s 40th Season.

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