Gesher Human Services and Detroit’s Matrix Theatre Company are proud to have collaborated on a new three-act theatrical experience called “The Open Door” which will be held at the Matrix Theater (2730 Bagley Street, Detroit, MI) on Saturday Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. and Sunday Oct. 15. at 3 p.m. with tickets costing $18. The readings and poetry are written by Gregory Kiewiet, a talented author, who has experienced barriers to opportunities because of having an illness. He attends Gesher’s Lois and Milton Y. Zussman Activity Center (known as Clubhouse) in Southfield. Clubhouse provides enrichment, educational and employment opportunities for people living with mental illnesses and part of that enrichment program is Creative Expressions, which gives participants opportunities in the arts, everything from photography, painting, and sculpture, to music, singing classes and, in this case, theatre writing. An ongoing collaboration between Kiewiet and Matrix Theater Director Amy Johnson has led to a premiere of this staged reading which features professional actors. Kiewiet describes the event as a “dream and major goal” and Gesher Human Services will be printing a book of his writing to accompany the event. To purchase tickets, go to matrixtheatre.org or click here.
Kiewiet first began working with Johnson during a theatre writing and performance course offered by the Creative Expressions program, meeting weekly for four months from 2021-22. During that course, “The Open Door” was first conceived and then developed, with some of the writing being used in an immersive multi-media arts event in 2022 called Frame of Mind.
“The Open Door” features three works by Kiewiet: poetry from “Plastered Heroics”; a one-act play called “A Beautiful Day” and an excerpt from the play “She’s a Beauty.” Kiewiet’s work is influenced by cubism, jazz, and vanguard moments. His writing opened doors for him about cultural consciousness, including art as exploration, and contemplation of everyday life experiences. Both performances will also include an interview with Kevin Killian, a poet, author, playwright (of primarily LGBT literature) and the co-founder of the Poet’s Theater and the New Narrative movement in San Francisco.
“Being able to watch Greg develop his skills as a writer through this collaboration with Matrix Theatre has been inspiring,” said Creative Expressions Program Manager Craig Nowak. “Participating in our arts programs and developing a personal project, has allowed Greg to open up and embrace his creativity in a whole new way. Because of his disability, Greg has faced barriers to professional writing opportunities. At Gesher we worked to help him break down those barriers by opening a door to one of our wonderful community partners, Matrix Theatre. The theatre’s director Amy Johnson, saw Greg's talent and passion for writing, took the opportunity to work with him over the past year, and will now be helping him bring his vision to life for a viewing audience. That's pretty incredible."
Plastered Heroics, a book featuring Kiewiet’s writing will be on sale in-person after the event and here at shopcreativeexpressions.com.
Click here to buy tickets!