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zAmya Theater Project announces SECOND CHANCE

Via an August 17 Press Release: 

zAmya Theater Project announces SECOND CHANCE

September 11 - 14 in the amphitheater outside Minneapolis Central Library on Nicollet

zAmya Theater Project announces SECOND CHANCE, a new play that explores what a second chance looks like for people experiencing homelessness. SECOND CHANCE was created by weekly workshops (primarily people experiencing homelessness) with playwright Carlyle Brown, choreographer Leah Nelson and theater artists Bianca Pettis and Esther Ouray. SECOND CHANCE is directed by Maren Ward.

Who deserves a second chance? And who decides? SECOND CHANCE explores the concept of what it means to get a second chance in life. A woman has a criminal charge that has been following her around and she can’t seem to get rid of it no matter what she tries. We hear her plea to the Council of Second Chances and the audience weighs in on whether or not she gets a second chance. What would you decide?

SECOND CHANCE will be performed by Stayci Bell, Charles Hilton, Caroline Mannheimer, Greg Tromiczak, Arminta Wilson, D. “Lurch” Yundt, Shannon Kemp, Tahiti Robinson, Sol Moran, Robert Blood, Calvin Wright, Annette Bryant, David Schnell, and Kamp Welch.

SECOND CHANCE is the culmination of ACTivation: Changing the Conversation on Homelessness Downtown. ACTivation is zAmya’s year-long residency at the Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central on Nicollet Mall. The goal of the residency is to engage library patrons experiencing homelessness in creative projects which will build relationships between homeless and housed patrons of the library and, by extension, Minneapolis – particularly downtown employees and residents. Activities have included weekly workshops and performances on Nicollet Mall.

It is said in the housing advocacy world that people with criminal backgrounds are the hardest to house. The phrase Second Chance is a term housing advocates use to refer to this challenge. Second Chance implies there is someone who messed up. With this housing or this job we’ll give that person a Second Chance at life. As it is now, these Second Chances are hard to come by. While we generally believe in the idea of serving time and paying dues, our systems do not support this idea. As the truth gets louder around racial covenants in housing practice, Criminal Justice System as the new Jim Crow, huge racial disparities in shelters and on the streets – it must be asked – was there ever a first chance? Maybe it is America that needs a Second Chance to fulfill the dream for all Americans?

These are the questions and contradictions that fuel the latest project of zAmya Theater Project, a company embedded in St. Stephen's Human Services, a social services agency devoted to ending homelessness. Created by actors who have experience with homelessness, zAmya’s plays tell stories related to this vital issues that increase awareness and understanding and build the public knowledge and will to address this problem. As with all zAmya productions, SECOND CHANCE will include humor, song and spoken word.

SECOND CHANCE is created with support from Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, National Endowment for the Arts and the Carolyn Foundation.

SECOND CHANCE will run September 11, 12, and 13 at noon and September 14 at 5pm at the amphitheater outside of Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Avenue. All performances are free, but donations are gladly accepted. More info is available at

zAmya Theater Project is a unique creative process that brings together homeless and housed individuals to create and perform a theatrical production. zAmya turns “homeless” from a word back into a person. Or persons. Living, breathing, laughing, singing persons. Who act — yes, act — in entertaining, genre-defying productions that are guaranteed to change your mind, if not your life.

zAmya Theater Project uses creativity, collaboration and community-based theater to build understanding and connection between citizens with and without experience in homelessness toward a vision of a community with safe, stable, affordable housing options for all. zAmya is a Sanskrit word that means “aiming for peace”.

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