About zAmya Theater Project

zAmya Theater brings together people who have experienced homelessness with those who have not in shared community to create and perform theater. We gather and share stories to build understanding and connection in order to motivate people to support housing justice and restore dignity.   Led by a troupe of artists who’ve experienced homelessness, zAmya has impacted 23,000 people in locations ranging from boardrooms, to parks, to world-class facilities like the Guthrie Theater. zAmya means “aiming at peace” in Sanskrit, which we interpret as using theater to actively work toward a community with safe, stable, affordable housing options for all. zAmya employs a unique community-based theater model to:

  • Connect individuals who have experience in homelessness and those who are housed through intentional, interactive, and collaborative workshops 
  • Create and tour full-length productions that explore the human side of homelessness and housing policy in new, funny, and musical ways
  • Build confidence and communication skills so that participants can advocate for their personal goals and vision 
  • Organize a safer space for restoring dignity and healing from the trauma of homelessness

zAmya is led by a troupe of actors, musicians, writers, visual artists –many who’ve experienced homelessness - Marcia Barnes, Robert Blood, Annette Butler,  Marvin Howard, Shannon Kemp, Caroline Mannheimer, Sol Moran,  Tahiti Robinson, Greg Tromiczak, Corey Walton, and Donald "Lurch" Yundt. Guest Artists who have worked/are working with the company include  Jason Ballweber, Antonio Duke, Josef Evans, Mankwe Ndosi, Leah Nelson, Nicole Smith, Crystal Spring, Beatrix Jar, Carly Wicks, and more! zAmya is directed by Minneapolis theater artists Maren Ward and Esther Ouray. 

Full Length Works
Created and performed by zAmya Theater Ensemble

zAmya Zone with Junauda Petrus 2019

A Prairie Homeless Companion with Josef Evans

Stories from the Book Of Harbor Light with Caroline Mannheimer 2019

Second Chance by Carlyle Brown and the zAmya Ensemble 2018

JUST US: Out of the Cycle, Into the Circle 2017

Stories from the Book of Harbor Light 2016

Many Voices: One Mic! (With Kulture Klub) 2016

That Reminds Me (with Jason Ballweber) 2015

Skits and Pieces off the Streets 2015

Home Street Home Minneapolis by zAmya Theater with Josef Evans 2014
Recovering the Me, I know I Can Be by zAmya Theater with Nicole Smith 2013
There’s No Place Like Home by zAmya Theater with Josef Evans 2012
Reality Roadshow: Who wants to be a Homeless Millionaire? by zAmya Theater with Joe Cedillo 2011
Homeroom by zAmya Theater 2010
Housed and Homeless: From the Very Same Cup by zAmya Theater with Corey Walton 2009
Little Foreclosed House on the Stolen Prairie by zAmya Theater with Josef Evans 2008 
There’s No Place Like Home by Josef Evans with the ensemble 2007
10 You Win, 10 You Lose by Josef Evans with the ensemble 2006
zAmya Roadshow by Josef Evans with the ensemble 2005
Act Before Midnight by Josef Evans with the ensemble 2004

Special Presentations and Commissions
DMNA and Guthrie Theater present zAmya’s Home Street Home 
On Common Ground, North Dakota State University Symposium – Fargo, North Dakota
6 Monologues for Tapestry – Created in collaboration with Tapestry Center for Women
The Price is Tight – by zAmya Theater, commissioned by Minnesota Housing Partnership, presented at the Wilder Foundation
Three Monologues for VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People) Services Fundraiser at the Radisson Blu
Opportunity: A Forum Theater Performance – developed by zAmya Theater with Ben Fink
Presented at the Opportunity Center, Central Lutheran Church – HAH (Homeless against Homelessness) Conference
Panhandling: A Community Response – Basilica of St. Mary

HAH: Reclaiming our Lives, Reclaiming our Homes – Minneapolis, MN 2013
Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless Annual Conference – Duluth – Wilmar - St. Cloud 2011-2015
Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed Conference – Chicago, IL - Austin, TX 2011, 2013
Solutions Twin Cities – Minneapolis, MN 2006
Northland Bioneers Conference – Minneapolis, MN 2006

Theatres: Guthrie Theater – Dowling Studio, Minneapolis Theatre Garage - Bedlam Theatre - Illusion Theater - Children's Theatre Company - In the Heart of the Beast Mask and Puppet Theatre - The Capri Theater - Pillsbury House Theater - New Century Theater -Minneapolis Institute of Arts – Minnesota Center for Photography 

Educational institutions: Cristo Rey Jesuit School - St. Stephen's School - St. Mary's University of Minnesota - Eden Prairie Performing Arts High School - St. Paul Central High School - University of Minnesota Law School - University of St. Thomas- Minneapolis Campus - Minneapolis Public Schools - Augsburg College - Century College - St. Cloud State University - Washburn High School - Plymouth Arts and Technology High School- University of Minnesota- Inter-professional Street Outreach Program - St. Catherine’s University – Macalester College – Brooklyn Center High School – University of Minnesota 

Faith organizations: Colonial Church of Edina - United Theological Seminary - MICAH (Metro Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing)St. Vincent dePaul Catholic Church in Brooklyn Park - Central Lutheran Church - Plymouth Congregational Church - Basilica of St. Mary's - Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness – Pax Christi – St. Richard’s Catholic Church – St. John Neuman - Westminster Presbyterian Church – Gethsemene Episcopal Church – Christ the King Lutheran Church 

Businesses & Government Agencies: Help Systems - Human Rights Center & Minnesota Coaches Association - Cabrini Partnership - Hennepin County Government Center - Minneapolis City Hall - Edina Realty - Thomson Reuters - Hennepin County Medical Center – Thrivent Financial – Social Engine Room – Grant Park Apartments – Minnesota Vikings Tailgate Lot

Shelters/Drop-in Centers: Salvation Army Harbor Lights - Alexandra House - St. Stephen’s Ending Long-term Homelessness Program - Catholic Charities Branch III – St Anne’s Residence – Kateri Residence – Ascension Place – People Serving People – The Drake Hotel – Youthlink/Kulture Klub – Simpson Shelter 

How Theater Can Help Shift the Narrative of Homelessness by Maren Ward for Walker Art Center 2014
Stop Staring, Start Seeing: Housed Spectatorship of Homeless Performers by Dani Snyder-Young for Theater Research International vol 36 no 2 2011
zAmya Theater Project: Towards an Intimacy of Social Change by Rachel Chavez – Dissertation submitted to the faculty of the graduate school of the University of Minnesota 2010




More Information

Minneapolis, MN 55407
[email protected]