13 Mather College for Women students (now Case Western Reserve University) stand in a row wearing costumes at Stunt Night

In CWRU History: Stunt Night at Mather College

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As Women’s History Month is celebrated around the country in March, we’re looking back on Flora Stone Mather College for Women and its famed Stunt Night.  

Originating in 1914, Stunt Night allowed women students to express themselves—using mostly parody and satire—through skits, dances and more.

Competing for class honors and the silver Stunt Night cup, students took to the stage one night, just before winter break, to perform their original works. Current events, university mores and, not surprisingly, the men of Adelbert College provided rich topics.

A black and white photo of a Mather College for Women Stunt Night, showing a stage that appears to be a circus

By the 1920s, Stunt Night’s popularity required a larger venue. For decades, the annual performance was held in Cleveland’s Masonic Auditorium. Over the years, additional traditions accumulated and, by the late 1930s, a post-performance dance was held at local hotels such as the Statler Hilton, the Hotel Cleveland and the Tudor Arms. 

In 1945, Stunt Night attracted the attention of Life Magazine, which published a four-page article, “Life Goes to a College Stunt Night,” in its Jan. 21, 1946, issue.