UMS announces No Safety Net 2.0, a three-week festival

The University Musical Society (UMS) of the University of Michigan announces No Safety Net 2.0, a three-week festival of three provocative theater productions plus a one-on-one installation performance, all of which foster timely conversations around topical social themes. The festival will be held January 22–February 9, 2020 on the University of Michigan campus and features 20 staged performances at Arthur Miller Theatre (1226 Murfin Avenue) and the Duderstadt Center (2281 Bonisteel Blvd), two school day performances, and opportunities for open dialogue and conversation with artists and other audience members. The installation performances will take place throughout the festival in both Ann Arbor and Dearborn. The first No Safety Net festival was held in January–February 2018. Tickets to all performances are on sale now at

“UMS is thrilled to present No Safety Net 2.0 to the region in early 2020,” said UMS President Matthew VanBesien. “Our first No Safety Net venture in 2018 showed that there is a huge appetite for provocative, socially-conscious work that gets audiences chewing on complicated and difficult issues. Even more important in this polarized moment, there is a palpable yearning to engage in respectful dialogue with people who may see and experience the world differently.

“We are pleased to bring a range of very exciting titles to Ann Arbor that we hope will lead audiences to a new understanding about the challenging issues of our time, issues where there may not be clear answers but there are definitely strong feelings, opinions, and emotions.  We are also fortunate to be based at a major university, one that is committed to embracing these issues wholeheartedly, and affording students, faculty, staff, and the community dynamic opportunities to ‘dig in’ to these complexities, with theater as a catalyst for further exploration.”

The productions featured in this dynamic three-week festival include:

Javaad Alipoor’s The Believers Are But Brothers, which focuses on masculinity and internet radicalization, both internationally and domestically. Wednesday, January 22 – Sunday, January 26, Arthur Miller Theatre, Ann Arbor (5 performances)

Half Straddle’s Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription , which focuses on patriotism, interrogation, whistle-blowing. Wednesday, January 29 – Sunday, February 2, Arthur Miller Theatre, Ann Arbor (5 performances)

Lee Minora’s White Feminist , which focuses on race, feminism, and privilege. Monday, February 3 – Sunday, February 9, Duderstadt Center, Ann Arbor (9 performances)

Tania El Khoury’s As Far As My Fingertips Take Me , a one-on-one encounter through a gallery wall, which focuses on the refugee crisis. Friday, January 24 – Sunday, February 2, University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities (Ann Arbor) & Tuesday, February 4 – Sunday, February 9, Arab American National Museum (Dearborn)

Please Note: Due to demand, UMS has added performances for all four productions. Note the updated date ranges above and view the full listing performances HERE

In addition to the titles presented, UMS announces a full suite of related activities. During the 2018 festival, UMS presented 33 education and community engagement events. The four productions in that festival attracted an audience that was composed of 46% students, over a quarter of whom attended through 19 different courses in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts; the School of Social Work; and the Stamps School of Art & Design. Overall, the attendance at the education and community engagement events was comparable in size to the attendance at the mainstage events. In addition to public events, the creators of all of the productions will visit University of Michigan and high school classes.