Topics & Discussions on the Life and Customs of Western Pennsylvania

The Symposium on Life and Customs in Western Pennsylvania

An Evening with James Madison

6:00 PM Friday May 14, 2021

The Stone Pavilion, Washington Park, Washington PA

Advance sale tickets only, available through Eventbrite.

$25 per person

There will be no tickets sold at the symposium.

American Historical Theatre Presents John Zak as:

James Madison: Father of the Constitution

In May 1787, delegates from each state came together at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Initially they intended to work out issues under the Articles of Confederation. Representative James Madison, at only 36 years of age, put forward his ideas for an effective government system in his “Virginia Plan”. In it he detailed a government with three branches: legislative, executive and judicial, each with checks and balances over the others so no branch had greater power over the other. Out of this plan and the discussions that ensued came The Constitution of the United States. Madison stated the Constitution was not “the off-spring of a single brain,” but instead, “the work of many heads and many hangs.”

With his charming wife Dolley by his side, James Madison would serve 2 terms as the 4th President of the United States.

Meet the Father of the Constitution and explore the process by which the enduring government of “We the People…” began. A conversation with James Madison is an opportunity like no other to understand how our Nation’s founding principles took shape.

James Madison – portrayed by John Zak

John is a professional actor and voice-over artist based in Philadelphia. Most recently he has performed Duncan in Macbeth and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night. And among his many roles some of his favorites have been Michael in Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Detective Fix in Around the World in 80 Days, Arte in John Guare’s House of Blue Leaves, Josh in Alan Ayckbourn’s My Wonderful Day, Barry in Yussef El Guindi’s Jihad Jones & the Kalashnikov Babes, Little Monk in Brecht’s The Life of Galileo, Stefan in The European Lesson (Jo Stromgren Kompani–Norway tour), and Caliban in The Tempest. And 2016 also marks his 20th year of performing competitive improvisational comedy with Comedy Sportz.

If you have any questions, please contact Tracie at

Student Poster Session Contest

The Bradford House Historical Association annually sponsors two Poster Contests, open to all intermediate/middle and high school students (public, parochial, cyber and home-schooled) on a topic of Western Pennsylvania history, 1750 – 1850. The contest is open to students who reside in Washington, Greene, Allegheny, Fayette and Westmoreland Counties.

Students are required to construct a presentation on a standard size trifold display board, register online during January and February, and deliver the project to the Bradford House, 175 South Main Street, Washington, Pennsylvania, in early March. For complete rules, hints for developing a project, and a list of possible topics, see the Poster Rules link below.

Online registration is open January 1 through February 28. You can register for the poster contest by mailing the completed poster registration form (See the Poster Registration link below) to the Bradford House, PO Box 537, Washington, PA 15301 or you can email it to

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top 5 entries in each division: Middle School (grades 5-8) and High School (grades 9-12).


Poster Registration

Poster Rules

Poster Contest prizes generously provided by: