By Patsy Isenberg
Flint theatre and art lovers can enjoy two new venues this summer. Flint Repertory Theatre (The Rep) in partnership with The Flint Public Art Project has commissioned 27 playwrights to write 25 micro audio plays, each inspired by the playwrights’ impressions from a different mural.
The plays can be heard via the app PixelStix, available for download on phones and listening devices while standing in front of the corresponding murals.
Blend of theater and the visual arts
The murals were already here and the number of them is growing. The Flint Public Art Project’s Facebook page at facebook.com/flintproject/ includes photos and information on the huge array of murals already painted here by artists from all over the world. Many of the muralists keep returning to Flint and say they love this city.
Local playwrights include Taylor Boes, David Guster, Olivia Maxwell-Cook, Andrea Orpinel and Enrique Vargas — all students at the University of Michigan-Flint. The other playwrights for the project come from other parts of the country. One of them, Alex Moggridge, of New York City, an actor and a playwright commissioned for the Mural Plays, wrote “The Boatman,” a play The Rep did in their 2019 season.
The Mural Plays kick off at 12 noon on Saturday, June 5 with the first of four special events in downtown Flint, in Brush Alley, behind Blackstones and the Mott Foundation Building.
The remaining three events take place on the next three consecutive Saturdays, June 12, 19 and 26 all starting at 12 noon.
- Saturday, June 12 – Carriage Town Neighborhood at Flint Hard Cider Company on MLK and University Ave.
- Saturday, June 19 – North Side neighborhood at the MLK Mural on Martin Luther King Ave. just south of Pasedena Ave.
- Saturday, June 26 – East Side neighborhood at Latinx Center 2101 Lewis St, Flint.
The mural plays are available from June 5 through Aug. 31 through the app PixelStix. The mural plays will also be available during that time and after Aug. 31 online at The Rep’s website. Guided tours are offered by contacting The Rep at (810) 237-1530.
Productions by The Rep continue during the pandemic
Michael Lluberes, artistic director for The Rep, didn’t let the pandemic stop the shows from coming to Flint. Lluberes said, “This exciting and ambitious new programming is all outside of the box and our building. During the pandemic, we’re looking for ways to translate our work into new mediums and bring theatre directly to the community.”
Roof-top musical presentation “Songs For A New World”
Another out-of-the-box idea coming from The Rep is “Songs For A New World.” This musical will be performed on the roof of The Rep’s theater July 23-25. The audience will watch from the courtyard below.
“Songs For A New World” is set on the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship and transports the audience gradually through history ending on the ledge of a Fifth Avenue highrise. The music styles in the play include pop, gospel, and jazz. The varied musical styles convey themes of life, love, and the choices people make during extraordinary challenges, Lluberes said.
Lluberes adds, “We hope to get people out into Flint’s different neighborhoods this summer to experience theatre and the city in exciting new ways.”
Tickets for the musical will go on sale May 1. For more information about the new outdoor productions, visit flintrep.org. To purchase tickets contact The Ticket Center at 810-237-7333 or go the website.
EVM reporter Patsy Isenberg can be reached at email@example.com.