The Art of the Emergency Manager

Michigan’s Emergency Manager law has brought controversy and protest to the state since it was enacted, repealed and re-instated over the previous 24 months…and now it’s sparked something else — Art.

Specifically, theatrical art. A Flint-based theater group, The Shop Floor Theatre Company, is putting together a production of verbatim theater on the local experience with an Emergency Manager. A verbatim production is a form of documentary in which actors engage in a civic dialogue using the actual words of individuals speaking on the topic. This performance draws from interviews with Flint residents, local leaders and Emergency Manager experts from around the state.

Shop Floor Theatre Company was founded by Andrew Morton and Kendrick Jones, after their success with their U of M-Flint production — Embers: The Flint Fires Verbatim Theatre Project, based on a string of arson fires that plagued the city. Their mission is to focus on producing community-based original works that encourage social engagement.

Their upcoming production, State of Emergency, is funded by a $40,850 grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation. See the newly released trailer here.

Democracy Tree is honored to have been able to lend words to this innovative project. It hits all my buttons: civic discourse, democratic process and cultural arts.

Amy Kerr Hardin

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