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Why I Fight

Why I Fight, a theatrical adaptation of the 2019 Michigan Quarterly Review novelette by James Munro Leaf, dramatizes the perils of being defined by a mental illness and being caught in the psychiatric system. It probes the presumption of labels and the complex dynamics of power, dehumanization, and abuse in clinical settings. Creative director Gillian Eaton and actor Malcolm Tulip, faculty of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, engage students in this production at U-M Residential College’s Keene Theater from March 26–29, 2020.

Based on collaboration with the U-M Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program and other University units, a series of panels on mental illness and the arts follow each performance. Panelists will expand on themes in Why I Fight and invite conversation with audience members. Individuals and family members who live with mental illness; U-M faculty conducting psycho-social, public health, and biomedical research; and practitioners in the arts will explore the roles of creativity and the outdoors in healing. Dr. Melvin McInnis, Director of the Prechter Program, and other U-M mental health experts, will moderate the panels.

A catered reception and information tables for community resources in the arts and mental health follow each performance.

March 26
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

March 27
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

March 28
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

March 29
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

These events are free and open to the public. Although we will have limited space available for walk-ins, we request that you reserve your tickets in advance, if possible. 100 free tickets are available for each performance and can be reserved here:

All performances and conversations will be held in the Keene Theater:

701 E University Ave
East Quadrangle
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

This event is for those who want to 

  • ask questions about research and treatments for mental illness
  • explore the relationship between mental illness and the impact of the arts in healing
  • support family members, friends, and students with mental illness
  • prevent suicide among young adults
  • shift the legal system towards more humane interventions

The event is sponsored by 

  • U-M Residential College
  • U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • U-M Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program
  • Michigan Quarterly Review