For $10, you can log in to the video presentation from the comfort of your own home and learn about people from different walks of life whose stories have been silenced or pushed to the side.
Rosie Best, co-director for the “I Want You To See Me” project, said the project started in 2020 with an intern who was doing her masters degree in social work.
“That framed this project as being for social justice,” Best said. “Social workers have got the goals of working with three populations: the poor, the vulnerable and the oppressed. This is one of the iterations that we have where we’re working with people who are marginalized for a variety of reasons.”
However people identify, be it a lived experience in the BIPOC community, disability community, varying sexualities and gender identities, religious community, survivor of abuse, addiction or trafficking, Issue Box welcomes your story with open arms.
Best and Meg Kraner, the other co-director for the project, worked together to collect mixed media submissions for the project, including videos, written pieces and more. They try to select key participants who they feel have an important story to tell and will expose the audience to a wide range of humans.
“These are individuals who have not been seen in a way that feels true to them, whether that’s through social oppression or family conflict or marginalization of any kind,” Kraner said. “There might be people talking about identity things, past traumas. It’s really a platform for them to share their story, and where Issue Box comes into that is we provide a lot of support when it comes to the art and the visuals and bringing their story to life.”
The project is presented in conjunction with the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference hosted at the University of Toledo. The short film features eight to 10 stories from participants of all different countries like the U.S., Canada, England, Australia and more.
During the coronavirus pandemic’s isolation, Issue Box was looking for a way to connect people and platform important stories while still remaining safe in the guidelines of the quarantine.
Best and Kraner want to emphasize that this project is about platforming someone’s story – not stealing it.
“We create a DVD for them with their story on it in video form, then if they wanted to go to their therapist and say, ‘This is something I want you to see because I want us to talk about it,” or they wanted to share it with their church group or support group, it belongs to them,” Best said.
Issue Box feels there is a huge intersection between theater and mental health, which is why they use storytelling methods and theatrical presentations to help articulate the participants’ experiences. Issue Box is always looking for people to get involved with the company, be it through donating money, time, resources or ideas to help raise awareness for mental health.
Tickets on Eventbrite. $10. Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 pm, Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10 am. For more information on Issue Box Theatre, visit issueboxtheatre.org. To share your story or get involved, email email@example.com.