zAmya Theater Project, the community-based theater that builds understanding and connection between people with and without experience in homelessness, didn’t let the rain stop them from finishing off their spring season of performance #OnNicollet this past Tuesday.
Taking shelter from inclement weather at the DID Pop-up Satellite Office, the troupe presented a varied program featuring statistics, personal stories, and music, opening up past and present experiences of homelessness to an audience of friends and visitors. The performance marked the conclusion of the second phase of ACTivation: Changing the Conversation on Homelessness Downtown, zAmya’s 2018 Nicollet residency with the library and the Downtown Improvement District. After the performance, the company and several audience members enjoyed a celebratory lunch provided by Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Since mid-May they had been gathering Tuesdays over the lunch hour at the DID’s temporary space on the first floor of Gaviidae Common before heading out to the street to bring their unique Dramatic Encounters to passersby. With segments including the Homeless News Network and a gallery of human sculptures, the group used conversational prompts, ice breaking theater exercises and other creations to engage the public.
The performance was the fruit of a season’s labor–beginning with Monday morning workshops at the Hennepin County Minneapolis Central Library in the early months of this year. The group will take a brief summer hiatus before beginning work on phase three of the residency, which culminates in a series of full-length performances at the Nicollet Theater in the Round in mid-September. The final program will be developed in collaboration with a professional playwright funded in part by the Carolyn Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts.