Workshops & Events

When the play, Legal Tender, opened in Northampton, MA in the spring of 2014, it made the front page of the local newspaper  performances were immediately sold out. Friends and allies crowded the foyer afterwards, taking-talking-talking about their own relationship to money.
Making Money Garland
What’s your own money story?
Would it interest you to explore it further?
Would you like to hear other people’s stories?

If so, here are some possibilities:

Playwright’s Reading
Christian McEwen reads a selection of stories from Legal Tender and talks with the audience about the five-year process of creating the play, for which she interviewed more than 50 women. Warm, entertaining and provocative: a gentle introduction to a challenging topic.
Time: 1-2 hours
Audience size: small groups of 12 +

Dramatic Reading
A live performance by local actors with plenty of time for story-telling and discussion. Allows the audience to explore their own money stories in some depth. Energizing, engaging, and a touch risky too – telling the truth about money may not always be entirely comfortable!
Time: 2 + hours
Audience size: larger groups of 35-150

Money Stories Workshops
Uses excerpts from Legal Tender to help inspire each person’s money story, in pursuit of what we call “emotional financial literacy.”* Themes include childhood memories of money; gender, race and class inequities; scarcity and abundance, all of which are explored through lively conversation, art-making and creative writing. Each workshop can stand alone, or be offered as part of a series.
Time: 2-3 hours
Audience size: intimate groups of 10-25

* Without “emotional financial literacy,” financial literacy has little purchase.

Christian McEwen

Legal Tender: The Play Itself
A live performance by local actors using substantial selections from Legal Tender. This requires 2-3 hours of prior rehearsal on the part of local volunteers. It works best with people who already know each other well, and ideally serves as a catalyst for wide-ranging community conversations. An exhilarating experience for all involved.
Time: total of 6 hours
Audience: schools, faith-based communities, or other established groups. 

True Worth Retreat
Excerpts from Legal Tender are used to inspire creative writing, art-making, dialogue and discussion, giving us time to explore individual money stories in an atmosphere of openness and trust. Retreats culminate in a shared reading, ceremony and celebration.
Time: 2-5 days
Audience: 10-15 focused participants, willing to explore their own money stories at considerable depth.

Conference Presentations
Christian McEwen, Phyllis Labanowski, and Pam Hannah each present a different facet of contemporary money stories with a focus on a range of different topics, including art, autobiography, and creative money management.
Time: total of 1-2 hours
Audience: academic or business setting

The Sound of Wealth
A live performance by Phyllis Labanowksi using the sound of 33,503 little steel balls to represent the distribution of wealth in the United States. The Sound of Wealth can be performed in an intimate setting or a large auditorium (the latter requires a projector and sound system). Based on the work of Chuck Collins from United for a Fair Economy in Boston, the performance is a powerful way to deepen our collective stories about classism.
Time: 1+ hour
Audience: groups of any size 

Art  = Work
Phyllis Labanowski facilitates a community conversation inspired by Art Work, a newspaper by Temporary Services in Chicagoabout art, labor and economics. (A free download is:
In the Arts We Trust

Art by Phyllis Labanowski