“These Shining Lives” dramatizes the story of the “Radium Girls,” who worked at a factory that exposed them to radioactive paint. TWU’s production runs through Sunday.

Texas Woman’s University Theatre opened These Shining Lives Wednesday, plumbing history for a story about workers harmed by an unprincipled employer.

These Shining Lives is based on the real-life stories of the “Radium Girls,” women who worked for the Radium Dial Co. They painted instrument dials with luminescent paint derived from the radioactive element radium. When the women contracted radiation poisoning, the company fired them. But the women fought for their health and workplace rights, and the trial that followed resulted in a landmark decision that reshaped the rights and lives of American workers.

Guest directors Susan Carol Davis and Sharon Barnhill lead the show. Davis, president of the Artists Enclave of Denton County, also directed the award-winning film “Mack Minded,” a short documentary co-produced by TWU about TWU faculty member Pauline Beery Mack. Barnhill has a long resume on North Texas stages.

These Shining Lives features TWU theater undergraduates Hannah Fuller, Lauren Jordan, Hope Warner, Janel Agbor, Damon Wadyko, William Clark, Alexander Delacruz-Nunez, Felix Ferris and Bryce Neel.

The production will feature guest lighting designer Nikki Deshae, undergraduates Abel Mathew and Kellsie Flanagan as sound co-designers, professor Rhonda Gorman as set and costume designer, and undergraduate student Markia Graves as properties artisan.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at the Redbud Theater Complex, located on the north side of Hubbard Hall on TWU’s Denton campus.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Saturday afternoon’s performance will have a cash-only, pay-what-you-can option available at the box office.

For tickets, visit or call the TWU box office at 940-898-2020.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877 and via Twitter at @LBreedingDRC.

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