“We wanted to create a good mix of performances. Because the subject matter in ‘No Safety Net’ is so heavy, we didn’t want to have such a dark event to start this series off. We wanted it to be fun, you know?” SMTD senior Jamie Sharp said about the University Musical Society (UMS) Student Committee’s “No Safety Net Student Kick-Off Party.” “No Safety Net” is UMS’ three-week festival featuring four provocative theater productions that “foster timely conversations around topical social themes.”

“These performances are so cool and so relevant to what’s going on today. This year, the focuses are white feminism, toxic masculinity, the refugee crisis, patriotism and whistle blowing,” LSA senior Jacob Gibson, a coordinator of the event, said. 

Sharp, Gibson and the rest of the UMS Student Committee, have worked over the last semester to organize the “No Safety Net Kick-Off Party.” The event on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m., will feature performances from U-M students and alumni across disciplines: Midnight Book Club (improv comedy), a.n.g.e.l.i. (hip-hop/rap), Aldo Leopoldo Pando Girard (spoken word/poetry) and Virago (free improv/new music).

Taking place in the intimate Canterbury House, the event is designed to bring people together through multiple forms of art. Midnight Book Club is sure to ignite laughter throughout the room. Virago and a.n.g.e.l.i will perform unique musical acts, and Aldo Leopoldo Pando Girard’s poetry will melt hearts and minds. 

“When we first thought about who to ask to perform in the Kick-Off series we tried to pick performances that mirrored the event,” Gibson said. “But then we realized that if people are actually going to attend (No Safety Net) we want them to fully experience what the shows have to offer, while they are watching them, not at the Kick-Off Event. We wanted Thursday evening to moreso create a celebration and fun kick-off party.”

The subject matter of the shows in the “No Safety Net” series deal with heavy political and social themes. However, the event planners aim to craft a bit of a lighter tone amongst attendees.

“People should come into this kick-off event with an excitement to see students and their friends perform,” Gibson said. “There’s no pressure! It will be a fun night to celebrate all the great theatre to come.”

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