Radium Girls is a piece of historical fiction based on the events that took place in Orange, New Jersey between 1918 and 1928, when radium was a recent discovery thought to be a scientific miracle and its dangers were unknown. The story begins with an adult Grace Fryer reminiscing about her youth in the U.S. Radium Corporation’s dial-painting factory as she describes it to her lawyer in preparation for court. We are then introduced to a young Grace, her best friends Kathryn and Irene, and Arthur Roeder, the new plant manager. The girls are reminded to point the brushes on their lips in order to save the company spending on rags. They are unaware that the paint they are consuming will kill them. A few years later, Grace is engaged, Roeder has become president of the company, and the factory girls have started to become fatally ill. The rest of the play follows the lawsuit of the dying women against the corporation that poisoned them. Roeder struggles to admit his fault in the women’s deaths while protecting his company. The story is closely followed and exploited by the sensationalist press that caters to the observing public. It was one of the first major lawsuits to bring to light issues of workers’ rights and workplace safety. Their story also inevitably brings up the gender-based tension of female workers suing a board of men, the class privilege that separated them, the public’s sick obsession with tragedy, and the importance of science.

Performance Dates & Times

Thursday, April 4, 2019 – 8pm

Friday, April 5, 2019 – 8pm

Saturday, April 6, 2019 – 2pm

Saturday, April 6, 2019 – 8pm


Yale Repertory Theatre