zAmya Theater Project celebrates 15 years with the Annual Fall Roadshow: zAmya Zone

Performances inspire action for housing justice during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week November 18-23 at venues throughout the Twin Cities 

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zAmya Theater Project announces the Annual Fall Roadshow: zAmya Zone, a 90-minute theatrical event to build understanding about homelessness and inspire action for housing justice. zAmya Zone will be performed at venues across the Twin Cities during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Nov. 18-23. zAmya Theater Project will celebrate its 15th birthday with a celebration after the Nov. 23rd performance at Pillsbury House Theater.

zAmya Zone marks the company’s 15th anniversary of creating performances from stories lived by participants who have experienced homelessness, crafted by zAmya’s core artistic members, to change the narrative about homelessness. zAmya believes in the basic human right of safe, stable, affordable housing for all. Sharing personal stories of homelessness helps to heal the trauma for those who have experienced it and begins to unravel the systemic crisis of homelessness. 

zAmya Zone was written by Junauda Petrus-Nasah (who recently released the book The Stars and the Blackness Between Them) and is co-directed by Eric Avery and Maren Ward. The cast includes Joshua Battey, Robert Blood, Annette Bryant, Charles Hilton, Marvin Howard, Lurch, Sol Sepulveda, Tahiti Robinson, and Arminta Wilson.

zAmya Zone was inspired by content generated during weekly workshops at Minneapolis Central Library over the summer with members of the community who have experienced homelessness. zAmya Zone borrows its name from the popular TV series The Twilight Zone and explores the surreal and strange nature of an abundant world that is somehow not enough. 

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension—a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind, a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. In this dimension we are on beautiful earth, with abundant food and shelter for all. Yet, in this dimension, there exists the world of homelessness, displacement and poverty. A dimension where your class, your mental and physical health, your race, your ancestry could result in you not having a home, safety or care. Redlining and angry mobs, broken treaties with sovereign nations, settled land and enslavement, genocide and gentrification are apart of this legacy too. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of privilege and poverty, between haves and have nots, of shelters and high-rise condos. It is an area which we call the Zamya Zone.

“It’s inspiring to see how zAmya has grown from one show a year to year-round programming! The skills and bonding that have happened with the troupe under the leadership of Maren Ward have been astounding. I’m thrilled to see the breadth of the work—weekly workshops at Minneapolis Central Library, touring SW Minnesota, performing for fundraisers, contributing to organizations' workshops in diversity and inclusion, along with our shows. And the impact continues to be humbling. Expressing our voices together is the heartbeat of the work. My hope is that the participants are invited to do more work inside and alongside those in organizations and that their skills are utilized to bring us together and see each other’s humanity.” — Lecia Grossman, zAmya Theater Project founder and advisory board member

“Art and theater can touch our hearts and minds in ways that annual reports, white papers and news articles simply can’t. The stories of zAmya Theater Project are incredibly important, poignant narratives of how various situations lead to homelessness, many times through no fault of their own. When will we stop staring and start seeing?” — Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council vice president

Performance Schedule

All performances are free and reservations are not required.

Monday, Nov 18, 7pm
Plymouth Congregational Church
1900 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis

Thursday Nov 21, 7pm
Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Auditorium
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis 

Friday, Nov 22, 6:30pm
Justice Page Middle School
1 West 49th Street, Minneapolis

Saturday, Nov 23, 7pm (zAmya 15th birthday celebration after performance!)
Pillsbury House Theater
3501 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

About zAmya Theater Project

Through captivating performances and creative collaboration workshops, zAmya Theater Project builds understanding and connection between individuals who have experienced homelessness and those who have not. From understanding and connection, hearts and minds are changed. Solutions are imagined and achieved. Since 2004 the zAmya Theater Project has been changing hearts and minds through performances and workshops in hundreds of Minnesota locations and with many partners including: Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, Hennepin Theater Trust, Southwest Minnesota Housing Project, The Guthrie Theater, Edina Reality, Salvation Army, Thrivent Financial, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless Annual Conference, Basilica of St. Mary, Augsburg College, and more.

zAmya Theater Project has been operating independently for one year after leaving St. Stephen’s Human Services in the fall of 2018. The company recently completed a tour of Southwestern Minnesota with A Prairie Homeless Companion, a new play which brought attention to the widespread need for affordable housing and resources for people who are experiencing homelessnes across Minnesota.

zAmya Theatre Project believes theater can change the narrative of homelessness. Our performances grow from stories lived by participants and crafted by our core artistic members. We share them because we know that if we want to unravel this crisis then we have to unravel the story. Informed by experienced advocates and direct service providers, zAmya is led by professional artists, and employs a core group of actors who’ve experienced homelessness to create the plays, co-facilitate workshops, and guide the direction of the company.

zAmya is a Sanskrit word that means “aiming at peace.” For zAmya, aiming at peace means aiming toward a community with safe, stable, affordable housing options for all. More info at zamyatheater.org.

Media Contact: Amy Danielson
danielson.amy@gmail.com
612-245-2020