5/1/19—Students at Marymount School of New York and The Nightingale-Bamford School recently welcomed high school students from fellow National Coalition of Girls’ Schools member Branksome Hall Asia, which is located on Jeju Island, South Korea. The visiting students performed “RISE—The Story of a Woman,” an original musical written for them that was inspired by Kim Mandeok, who lived on Jeju Island from 1739–1812, and is recognized as Korea’s first female entrepreneur. The musical’s major feminist themes are intended to inspire young women of the necessity of collaboration and to remind us that until all women are free, “none of us are free.”
The project to develop RISE began in 2017 when La Mór, the Head of Arts at Branksome Hall Asia, was frustrated by the lack of empowering material for a large female cast. The writer, Jessica Mór, is an artist from the UK who found in Kim Mandeok a figure who encapsulated the culture, community, history, and mythology of the “strong” women of Jeju island. And in whose life story she feels holds hope and inspiration for an international audience seeking solutions to contemporary struggles of equality and emancipation, both personal and political.