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Mary Rose Naoum 

When I first interned at Matrix Theatre Company, I conducted community outreach for a year-end performance for the School Theatre. The outdoor performance involved issues of environmental justice, so I recruited Detroit community groups to participate in the celebration, sharing information, resources, and workshops on various environmental justice issues in the city. A neighborhood arts performance and celebration was the best way I could have imagined being introduced to Matrix Theatre and Detroit community groups. Since this initial internship experience, I have worked with community members that I met at that event. I also created a program evaluation for Matrix Theatre's environmental justice initiative, Ghost Waters. As a student interested in non-profit management, learning how to accurately evaluate programs and create comprehensive reports for grant funders was a critical skill to gain. In fact, Matrix Theatre has since contracted me to conduct a program evaluation this past year!

View Mary's Internship Work Plan

Mary Rose Naoum

Semester in Detroit Work Plan

The Matrix Theatre Company is an arts outreach non-profit organization that seeks to change lives, build community, and foster social justice through the transformative power of theatre.  Matrix is nationally recognized for its efforts to create opportunities for children, youth, adults, and elders, especially those in isolated or challenged communities, to become producers, creators, and audience members of original and heritage theatre.

Since its establishment 21 years ago, the Matrix Theatre Company has produced over 140 shows, 113 of which are original pieces, allowing community members to explore their creative abilities, improve marketable skills, and provide an outlet from every day trials and tribulations.

The Matrix Theatre strives to address socially relevant issues in the community.  When established in 1991, Detroit was experiencing incredible violence.  The Matrix Theatre chose to explore the sources and solutions to this violence through its Beyond Violence Project, which enabled the younger community to talk about the violence they were experiencing at home and in the community; in addition, the project inspired a wider community discussion on violence, becoming a hallmark on how to transform community relationships through theatre.  More specifically, the Beyond Violence Project addressed the tension between the African American and Latino communities through its original play, Southwest Story. Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, Southwest Story presented a Black Romeo and a Latina Juliet.  The play illustrated that the rift between communities was rooted in a lack of communication, and, in turn, inspired dialogue between community members from these bifurcated groups.  More recently, the Matrix Theatre Company has addressed other community issues, such as environmental injustices through its Ghost Waters Project, and disability culture through its All Means All series.

Internship Logistics

Initially, I will be interning on Mondays from 10:00-4:00 and Wednesdays from 9:00-4:00.  On Saturdays and Sundays through May 20th, I will assist with the final show for the season, The Raven’s Seed, between 2:30- 5:00.  On Saturday, June 2nd, between 10:30-3:30, I will be assisting The Ghost Waters Project event, Water Fest.  I will be driving my car to the Matrix Theatre for the duration of my internship.

Project Goals

1.     Strengthen Community Engagement and Outreach

2.     Expand community involvement with Ghost Waters Increase community partner involvement in the Ghost Waters series.

3.     Strengthen administrative capacity at Matrix Theatre Company

Project Objectives

1.     Community Engagement

a.     Raise awareness in community about Ghost Waters event

b.     Act on other various constituent outreach endeavors for Matrix.

c.      Provide hospitality and direction for Raven’s Seed participants.

2.     Community Partners

a.     Research and contact environmentally-driven organizations for Water Fest.

b.     Recruit a minimum of 5 (up to 10) organizations for event.

c.      Enlist 2-4 workshops from participating community partners.

d.     Act as liaison for community partners before event.

e.      Provide hospitality for community partners during Water Fest.

f.      Provide follow-up communication and appreciation post-event.

3.     Administrative Capacity

a.     Create automatically running PowerPoint of annual report with narrative and musical accompaniment.

b.     Prepare document-version of annual report to share with funders.

c.      Assist on other various communication and logistical undertakings.


Executive director, Shaun Nethercott, will be my primary supervisor on all project goals.  After the closing of The Raven’s Seed, I will also be working with the Director of Education, Andrea Scobie, on identifying and subsequently communicating with local environmental justice organizations to be involved with the Ghost Waters Project. Staff meetings will provide insight on how to best address potential community partners and various other tasks.

Anticipated Challenges

-      Effectively promoting The Raven’s Seed to community members

-      Finding enough community partners for Water Fest

-      Finding community partners that will benefit from participating in Water Fest

-      Appropriately corresponding/interacting with community partners and Water Fest participants (through e-mail, phone, and in-person)

-      Promptly responding to e-mails and phone calls

-      Effectively and efficiently creating an annual report for Matrix, given my limited knowledge of the organization

-      Being proactive as an intern at Matrix

Evaluation and Assessment

-      Effective leadership and engagement during The Raven’s Seed

-      Attendance of the Ghost Waters culminating event, Water Fest

-      Effective correspondence with community partners

-      An increase in community partners for Water Fest

-      Timeliness and organization during program

-      Final products for annual report PowerPoint and Word Document