I've been working at Matrix Theatre Company in some form or fashion for nearly ten years now. When I was a recent college graduate, I heard about an audition at Matrix Theatre Company and figured I'd go for it. I came in that September, and I've been here ever since.
The thing that grabbed me right away about Matrix was the social justice mission. I saw how everyone who came in, people of all ages, those with formal theatre training and those without, were able to take part and tell their own story. I saw how every story mattered; how every person mattered. But it wasn’t until I started teaching classes that I learned how unique and how valuable Matrix is.
All students who come to Matrix, ages 5-18, write and produce original plays. From our kindergarteners who draw pictures of their characters and play round-robin storytelling games, to our Teen Company members who do extensive research, conduct interviews, and engage in weekend-long writing retreats, nearly everything we produce in the School of Theatre has been written by youth. More importantly, students are writing about topics and issues that matter most to them, drawing attention to changes they want to see and ideas they want to celebrate.
I have felt so privileged throughout these years to have known so many truly amazing young people, and to have been involved in letting their voices have a platform. From violence to immigration to bullying to education, it is evident, every single day, that these incredible young people have something to say. And when they’re given the chance, they shout it from the rooftops with clarity and conviction, with passion and poetry. Every new program, every writing session, every rehearsal, every opening night comes from the vision of the students themselves, and through this work, lives are being changed. I am fortunate to hear from youth who say that participating at Matrix changed them in ways great and small. Some say that being in plays gave them confidence, or helped them become better readers. Others say that being involved with Matrix showed them that they have the power to effect change in their lives and in their communities.
Many of the youth who come to Matrix say that it’s their second home, and that the people here are their family. I can attest to that- the family spirit is alive and well at Matrix. And it’s not only in the School of Theatre; it’s also evident in our incredible professional theatre, in our adult Writer’s Circle, and in every talkback and special event that encourages us to engage in dialogue with one another and to work together to find solutions.
If you think you’d like to get involved with Matrix, give me a call. Come and see a play here, take a tour, book a workshop; there’s lots to do! And if you are able, please consider making a donation. Every dollar given will go toward funding our education programs and productions, which are valued by so many in Detroit and beyond.
Thanks for taking the time to read through all of this. And if you didn't? Here's the "tl; dr" version:
Matrix is awesome. Matrix is family. And with your help, our family can thrive.
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