AIN’T SUPPOSED TO DIE A NATURAL DEATH: (A)LIVE IN DETROIT is a community development through the arts initiative and a participatory documentary musical that crosses the industries and disciplinary boundaries of live theatre, music, dance, film, installation, activism, and user-generated transmedia content.

The project exists in three parts: Live Theatre, Community Engagement, and Participatory Documentation.

• Live Theatre: In September 2015, a free multimedia community-specific production of Melvin Van Peebles’ 1971 Broadway funk musical AIN’T SUPPOSED TO DIE A NATURAL DEATH will be staged on three street corners in three different Detroit neighborhoods.

• Community Engagement: As of May 2014, a collaboration with city residents has begun to develop a community-generated narrative for AIN’T SUPPOSED TO DIE A NATURAL DEATH: (A)LIVE IN DETROIT. This is being achieved by immersing the project, over the course of sixteen months, within the Detroit community through an in-depth series of workshops, forums, rehearsals and potluck dinners where we are discussing, among other things, what it means to live within the shifting landscape of the city of Detroit today.

• Documentation: A participatory documentary musical film is currently in production. It weaves the non-fiction stories of Detroit residents with their fictional counterpoints from Mr. Van Peebles’ play to poetically share stories of life within the city of Detroit.