Lara Chew

Premiere of Gary Carden’s Monologue
“Mother Jones”, performed by Lara Chew

Saturday, April 7th, 2012 at 6pm
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 at 3pm encore performance
(photo by Amyjon Rogers)

We premiered a performance starring two of our most talented members -- Gary Carden and Lara Chew. This will be a first for our Fellowship. We have presented many of Gary’s plays in the past but he has never trusted us with a premiere. We are sure this trust is inspired by Lara’s ability to assume the persona and to speak in the voice of Mother Jones. 

Mother Jones was once considered to be “the most dangerous woman in America”. In the late 19th century, to the chagrin of governments and “Robber Barons”, she rallied coal miners, dock workers, endangered citizens, mill workers, and disabused members of societies, to protest against unfair wages, under age workers, poor working conditions, unhealthy living sites, poor government protection and unwarranted control of civil liberties. We benefit today from Mother Jones’ motivating outcries.


Listen to interview with Lara Chew and David Hurand on WCQS: (click here)



Lara Chew was the precocious child of a Georgia sharecropper family. She could read at age four but was denied entrance into public schools because of her age. Her father, determined to give his children the education he had been denied, enrolled her as an observer in a private elocution/drama class. There again she was denied participation but she could watch the productions.  The teacher asked her to memorize all the parts so she could be a stand-in for any absent actor. Thus began her training for memorization and the acquisition of a stage presence.

At home, she repeatedly read the two books she owned, Aesop's Fables and Grimms' Fairy Tales. These too were committed to memory and served as scripts for storytelling sessions with the neighborhood children and the animals.

Once allowed to go to public schools, Lara's teachers recognized her talents and love of reading. Many of her teachers were in school themselves taking "Build Your Career" classes. Because there were no public libraries, they shared their assignment books with her.  Among them were some Shakespearean plays. In the seventh grade she was reading and memorizing Shakespeare's plays. "Much Ado About Nothing" was her favorite.

An unexpected source of reading material came from their Landlord, who saved  "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" for her. She read them from cover-to-cover, the news, the stock reports, the comics, the death notices, she read them all. An editorial written by Celestine Sibley about Christmas in the Georgia Mountains inspired Lara in two ways. It reminded her that her ancestors were originally from the mountains and that some day she wanted to live there. And, Celestine Sibley became her role model. She aspired to be a journalist just like Celestine.

Lara married when she was very young. She had four children while still in her twenties. She was divorced and found herself a single mother with four small children to rear. Lacking the education to get a substantial job, she studied with the television to apply for and ge ta GED (General Education Development) diploma. She then took a battery of CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests. Her scores were high enough that she was awarded credits for the Freshman and Sophomore classes at Brenau University in Gainesville,GA. She entered Brenau at the Junior level and graduated  two years later with a Bachelor of Science degree, designating a major in Psychology and a minor in Journalism.  Wisely, she had used her Drama electives to pursue her love of acting.

Her avid reading and memorization had paid off, her Father's wish for her was fulfilled and her emulation of Celestine Sibley could become a reality.