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2023 Spring Gala: A Day In the Theater

A Day In the Theater

Sarah Rose Kearns, Laura Rocklyn, Emilee Dupré, and Lena Yasutake 


Woman's Athletic Club of Chicago 

626 North Michigan Avenue

The Gala includes a luncheon with your choice of

Beef Bourguignon, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, or Cauliflower Steak

Coffee and hot or iced tea included.


Tickets are $100 per person

[Registration is now closed]

Valet parking is available at The WAC.



Sarah Rose Kearns, Laura Rocklyn, Lena Yasutake, and Emilee Dupré will present an original short play, Manydown, depicting sisters Jane and Cassandra Austen. They will also host a Q&A session and Lena Yasutake will present on costuming the sisters – reviewing fashions of the moment, their age, and socioeconomic status. 

  • Manydown
    A thirty-minute play by Sarah Rose Kearns, directed by Emilee Dupré and starring Laura Rocklyn as Jane Austen. One pivotal night in December 1802, the novelist must face a difficult choice around love, ambition, community, and art. What kind of safety is worth having?
  • Attiring the Austens
    Costumer and dramaturg Lena Yasutake will speak on recreating fashions that Jane and Cassandra might have worn on their visit to Manydown. To be followed by a Q&A with the artists and a sneak peek of Rose’s work-in-progress!









Sarah Rose Kearns

Sarah Rose Kearns is a writer, performer, and lifelong Austen enthusiast. She studied acting with Dan Daily, Ragnar Freidank, Austin Pendleton, and many others; and she holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Columbia University. Her stage adaptation of Persuasion debuted off-Broadway in 2021 and will be produced again in the winter of 2023-24. Rose is the most recent recipient of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) International Visitor Program fellowship; she travelled to Chawton, UK, in the summer of 2022 to conduct research for another biographical play about the Austen sisters. She is a frequent speaker on Austen and the art of adaptation, and has discussed her work at such venues as The Peabody Institute in Baltimore, The Jane Austen Summer Program in Chapel Hill, HB Studio, and The New York Society Library. Rose serves as a member of the JASNA committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and as co-coordinator for the JASNA New York Metropolitan Region.

Laura Rocklyn

Laura Rocklyn is an actress, writer, and Janeite based in Boston, MA. Laura has performed with regional theaters across the country where favorite roles have included Lydia in Pride & Prejudice at Round House Theatre, Elinor (u/s) in Sense & Sensibility at The Folger Theatre, Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice and Marianne in Sense & Sensibility at The Classic Theatre of Maryland. Laura has performed her one-woman show Jane Austen: Who Dares To Be an Authoress? for JASNA regions and educational groups across the country. Her original short play Emma is Presented in Washington City premiered at the JASNA 2016 AGM. Laura presented her one-woman play Charlotte Brontë: To Do More and Better Things, as a part of the North American Friends of Chawton House 2021 Speaker Subscription Series. She holds an MFA from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University.







Emilee Dupré

Emilee Dupré is an artist and educator whose life is devoted to creating work that cultivates a sense of belonging, sparks curiosity, and evokes a sense of magic. Her multifaceted skill-set, experience, vast network, and clear vision make her a dynamic leader in arts and culture and education. Dupré is a Broadway and film actress, director, choreographer, teacher, coach, wellness practitioner, REALTOR® at Keller Williams First in New York, INVITAS Leader, and she is a new mom! Emilee holds a BFA in Theater from New York University’s Tisch School and has a voracious appetite for knowledge and passion for education! Many thanks to her family and friends for their guidance and support.

Lena Ruth Yasutake

Lena Ruth Yasutake is an educator with two decades of experience. She earned her degree in sociology and psychology at the University of Bridgeport and has worked for twenty years as an elementary and middle school teacher at Bridgeport Hope School. After becoming a mother, she became a childbirth education instructor, a certified doula, prenatal and infant massage therapist, a breastfeeding coach and ran a popular support group for mothers of young children. She also became a sex education instructor working in schools, with couples and running workshops. She now serves as a board member for the Historic Joseph Teel House in Connecticut, where she coordinates Jane Austen balls and retreats to help raise money for its restoration. Lena has been interviewed about her love of Austen by The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. She is a member of the JASNA committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and she is dedicated to bringing the joys of Austen’s writings to new, younger, and even more diverse audiences.


Spring Gala Emporium:

Jane Austen’s Books

Jane Austen Books was founded in 1986 by Pat Latkin. She built a collection and a group of faithful customers that followed her business through catalogs and appearances at Jane Austen Society events and conferences. In 2008 the Jane Austen Books torch passed to Jennifer Weinbrecht and her daughters Beth Dean and Amy Patterson, lifelong Austen fans and longtime customers of the bookstore. Over the years Jennifer, Beth and Amy have relished the opportunity to travel to Jane Austen functions to sell books and proselytize Austen Mania to the masses.


We began serving tea in 2010, from our private stash, to friends at conventions. We entertained them with the history of tea, brewing methods, and fun facts about the tea they were drinking. Now, we search for the best teas we can find from all around the world. The finest of leaves and the highest quality ingredients are selected for your enjoyment. We have all the gear and tea you need to either unwind from a long day or fuel it. Whether you're new to tea or have already developed a large collection, we have something for you.


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