Northern Michigan University's Department of Theatre & Dance is seeking campus and community involvement for a devised theater piece that will celebrate members of historically marginalized communities and share their experiences at NMU and in the Marquette area. The piece, tiled “Finding Home,” will be incorporated into the 2022-2023 season. The deadline for sharing stories is Tuesday, June 14.
NMU Associate Professor David Pierce said devised theater is a process in which the entire creative team of actors, designers and technicians is involved in developing a script and show collaboratively.
“In an effort to amplify the voices of the many diverse communities on campus and in the Upper Peninsula, we invite individuals who identify with historically marginalized groups and are comfortable sharing their experiences to participate in this project,” Pierce added. “Their input will allow us to create a piece of theater not seen here before, and can help educate others on the struggles faced every day by the people who live them. All that being said, we want this piece to truly be an uplifting celebration of the different communities not just on campus, but in the Marquette area.”
New York City-based director and teaching artist Michael Blatt will conduct the in-person interviews June 19-23 and serve as guest director of the fall production. Participants will receive a $30 stipend for sharing their experiences. Blatt previously directed the 2016 NMU production of Where a Certain Future, which explored the horrors of the beginnings of the Holocaust.
“Our mission is to take these stories and create a new theater piece using your words and your collective experiences,” wrote Blatt in the show's mission statement. “We want to hear the good, the bad, and everything in between. We will then work with a diverse troupe of actors to create something unique and theatrical.”
A confidential questionnaire will be distributed to NMU students, faculty and staff this week. Those who identify as “BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, AAPI, Latinx, Person with a disability, International, or as a member of another marginalized group” are encouraged to complete the form. Community members who wish to share their stories can fill out the questionnaire by following this link or by visiting the show page on the department's website at nmu.edu/theatreanddance/finding-home-working-title.
Proceeds from “Finding Home” will support a scholarship fund for students from diverse groups. The show's run is scheduled Nov. 4-5 and 9-12.