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Matrix Theatre Company Opens Season With SIZWE BANSI IS DEAD

Matrix Theatre Company opens its 2016-17 season with Sizwe Bansi is Dead by Athol Fugard onFriday, September 23, 2016. This powerful play weaves the story of a man living under apartheid rule in South Africa whose only hope for financially supporting his family means he must relinquish his very name. The show runs through Sunday, October 16, 2016 with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm.

The final dress rehearsal on Thursday, September 22, is a "Pay What You Can" performance. Sponsored by Level One Bank, the "Pay What You Can" Night, a new initiative beginning this season, helps to eliminate the economic barrier between the audience and Live Theatre performance. Patrons can choose to pay whatever amount they want at the door to see the preview show of Sizwi Banzi is Dead. Tickets are on a first-come-first- served basis and cannot be purchased or reserved in advance.
Matrix Theatre Company's Executive Director, Mary Ann McCourt said, "I am excited that Matrix is able to provide this wonderful opportunity to those who may not otherwise be able to enjoy a Live Theatre show."

All productions are presented at Matrix Theatre Company, located at 2730 Bagley in the heart of Detroit's Mexicantown. Ticket prices range from $15 to $20 and may be purchased in advance or, if

available, at the door. Group rates are available for most shows. For further information or to order tickets, go towww.matrixtheatre.org, or call 313 967 0599.

Directed by Oliver Pookrum (Detroit), the story takes place in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, a township in South Africa during the 1970s and focuses on Sizwe Bansi, a man without a proper work permit seeking employment outside his village. Under the strict apartheid laws, black South Africans were unable to participate in free society and lacked freedom of movement from town to town. Without a valid permit, Sizwe has no hope of financially supporting his family. When an opportunity to procure a permit presents itself, he must decide whether or not to accept it, even if it means forever giving up his identity. Written with humor and insight, the play exposes the cruel and arbitrary rules that determine the difficult and often painful choices some people are forced to make in order to survive in an unjust world.
"This play is a stark reminder of how unfair the world can be, if we are not continually working together to eliminate its injustices," said Matrix Artistic Director, Megan Buckley-Ball. "We are proud to share this portrait of one man's emotional experience."

Sizwe Bansi is Dead features James Abbott in the title role with JoNathan Jones as Styles and Falah Cannon as Buntu. All three actors are Detroit residents.

During the run of the production, Matrix Theatre Company will host a donation drive for Freedom House, a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution from around the world who are seeking asylum in the United States and Canada. Donations will be accepted on performance dates at the theatre. For more information about the drive, acceptable items for donation, and Freedom House, visit matrixtheatre.org.

About Matrix Theatre Company

Celebrating more than 25 years as a non-profit community-based theatre, Matrix Theatre Company is located in southwest Detroit and uses the transformative power of theatre to change lives, build community and foster social justice. Go to matrixtheatre.org for further information. Matrix Theatre Company's Mainstage Season is sponsored by O'Brien Construction Company and MGM Grand Detroit, and is funded in part by Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and The Kresge Foundation.


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