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Matrix Theatre Company Season Opener Highlights Extreme Impact of Sexual Abuse

Matrix Theatre Company opens its 2017-2018 Mainstage Season with Who Will Sing for Lena? by Janice L. Liddell, running November 17 through December 10. Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm and will take place at Matrix Theatre Company, located at 2730 Bagley in the heart of Mexicantown. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or at the door and are $22 for adults and $17 for students, seniors, military personnel, and veterans. For further information or to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.matrixtheatre.org or call 313-967-0599.

Ashley M. Lyle (Lincoln Park) will be making her professional debut when she takes on the role of Lena Baker, who, in 1944 Georgia, killed her abusive, white employer in self-defense. Using actual trial transcripts, the play dramatically lays out the motivations for her actions, telling the story of her abuse, the killing, her trial, and ultimate execution. Baker is the only woman in Georgia to have been executed by electric chair.

"I haven't the words to effectively communicate how honored I am to direct Who Will Sing for Lena?," director Casaundra Freeman said. "Lena Baker's story echoes loudly in every woman who has spoken out in the recent #MeToo campaign. Hers is the voice of the powerless, the oppressed, the assaulted, the battered, the harassed, the stalked, the isolated, the shamed, the unheard. In many ways she was a woman far ahead of her time; ambitious, driven, determined, and resilient. However, there were many forces that conjoined to bring about her untimely and unjust death, and those issues still haunt us today."

"While it is reassuring to see social media campaigns such as #MeToo bring awareness to the sexual violence women suffer every day," Freeman continued, "there are far too many women who, like Ms. Baker in her time, lack the resources to have their voice added to the number. It is my hope that my collaboration with Matrix Theatre and Ashley will not only inform many of a story we should all know as well as we do that of Emmett Till, but that it will also remind us that we all have an obligation to our ancestors to do our part in shifting the balance of power that allows stories like Ms. Baker's to go unsung for so long."

Who Will Sing for Lena? stars Ashley M. Lyle (Lincoln Park). The production team includes Megan Buckley-Ball (Roseville), Sarah Drum (Garden City), Casaundra Freeman (Detroit), and Amy Schneider (Detroit).

The final dress rehearsal on Thursday, November 16 is a "Pay What You Can" preview performance. In an effort to help eliminate the barrier between audiences and live theatre, patrons can choose to pay whatever amount they want at the door to see the preview performance of Who Will Sing for Lena? Tickets can be reserved for that evening's performance by calling the Matrix Theatre Box Office at 313-967-0599.

About Matrix Theatre Company

Celebrating 27 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 funded in part by Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Foundation, and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation. Mainstage Season Producers include Lynn Stevens Naoum, Lisa Varnier, Howard and Howard, and the Brennan Group.



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