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Lines: Revisiting our shared paths right where we live

When Calvin College professor Dr. Stephanie Sandberg premiered Lines: The Lived Experience of Race at Actors’ Theatre of Grand Rapids in 2010, the production not only sold out the entire two-week run immediately, but the demand for this timely theatrical event ran so intense that additional performances had to be added to accommodate the crowds.

When Lines returns to the stage — this time at Wealthy Theatre — it will not just be another limited run.his Wealthy Street setting will be one much more closely aligned to where the work was created over 2009 to 2010, when Dr. Sandberg began her research.

Falling in the category of verbatim theatre — a narrative style used by other troupes around the world to capture personal stories — Lines in 2016  revisits those qualitative interviews contained within the production’s original six episodes, and will also be updating them, as a lot has happened to these characters since the 2010 debut.

The topics of housing inequality, white privilege, gentrification of the city in once segregated places like the Wealthy Street corridor, our criminal justice system, the role of religion, and the history of racism within our city are all revisited and updated in this new production with new interviews folded delicately into each section of Lines.

This new production, which falls under Dr. Sandberg’s new role as the Artistic Director at ADAPT Theatre, will run March 25 through April 3 with 14 performances. Three of these performances will be set aside for high school groups as part of a grant from the Michigan Humanities. 

At each of these performances will be an opportunity for audience members to break into small groups immediately after and discuss the production, allowing individual voices across a wide sampling of our community’s diverse populations to be captured and then later shared with the City of Grand Rapids at a meeting with city officials in May 2016.  

“Performing the actual experience of community members, this moving play explores how racial issues specifically impact individuals and families in our community,” says Dr. Sandberg,  “Lines challenges us to ask questions about where we live and how we can respond to race-related division in West Michigan.”

Admission: See website for ticket pricing and discounts
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