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UMS announces provocative theater festival in Ann Arbor

No Safety Net 2.0 to run Jan. 22-Feb. 9

A scene from Half Straddle’s Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription
A scene from Half Straddle’s Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription (Credit: Paula Court | UMS)

ANN ARBOR – The University Musical Society will be presenting No Safety Net 2.0, a provocative three-week theater festival that explores timely social themes, Jan. 22 through Feb. 9.

Twenty performances will take place on University of Michigan’s campus at Arthur Miller Theatre (1226 Murfin Avenue) and the Duderstadt Center (2281 Bonisteel Blvd).

Installation performances will take place in both Ann Arbor and Dearborn during the festival.

“UMS is thrilled to present No Safety Net 2.0 to the region in early 2020,” UMS President Matthew VanBesien said in a statement. “Our first No Safety Net venture in 2018 showed that there is a huge appetite for provocative, socially-conscious work that gets audiences chewing on complicated and difficult issues. Even more important in this polarized moment, there is a palpable yearning to engage in respectful dialogue with people who may see and experience the world differently.

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“We are pleased to bring a range of very exciting titles to Ann Arbor that we hope will lead audiences to a new understanding about the challenging issues of our time, issues where there may not be clear answers but there are definitely strong feelings, opinions, and emotions. We are also fortunate to be based at a major university, one that is committed to embracing these issues wholeheartedly, and affording students, faculty, staff, and the community dynamic opportunities to ‘dig in’ to these complexities, with theater as a catalyst for further exploration.”

Featured productions in No Safety Net 2.0 include:

Javaad Alipoor’s The Believers Are But Brothers focuses on international and domestic masculinity and internet radicalization. Five performances will take place from Jan. 22-26 at Arthur Miller Theatre.

Half Straddle’s Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription focuses on patriotism, whistle-blowing and interrogation. Five performances will take place from Jan. 29-Feb. 2 at Arthur Miller Theatre.

Lee Minora’s White Feminist focuses on feminism, race and privilege. Nine performances will take place from Feb. 3-9 at the Duderstadt Center.

Tania El Khoury’s As Far As My Fingertips Take Me focuses on the refugee crisis and is a one-on-one encounter through a gallery wall. Performances will take place Jan. 24-Feb. 2 at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and Feb. 4-9 at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn.

Other festival related events that are open to the public include:

  • Active bystander training
  • Artist Q&As with U-M academic experts
  • Community activist dialogues
  • Internet troll workshop
  • Creator podcast series

For a full list of events, performance dates and times, visit ums.org/nosafetynet.

Tickets to all performances can be purchased at ums.org.


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