The WMU Theatre production of Tribes was scheduled to open to the public on March 13, 2020. Just one day prior to opening, we were forced to shut it down due to the threat of Covid-19. We quickly gathered the cast's family and some cameras to present it just once for a small audience and create this recording in the hopes that we could share it in some way. We are so grateful to playwright Nina Raine for allowing us to share this work online with you now, and to John MacKenzie and his team for creating the recording.

Shuttering production last season and contending with an unsure future has made your financial support of our work paramount. We hope you will consider making a tax-deductible contribution here. Our thanks to those of you who contributed your ticket purchase to the department already.

We are grateful to so many for their support of this show, especially Elizabeth and Frank Bystrycki, Jayne Fraley-Burgett, and the Jim Gilmore Jr. Foundation. We were honored to have the show’s director, Georgette Verdin, and guest actor, Joey Ausanio with us in residency. Congratulations to all on a beautiful production!


Video of TRIBES, by Nina Raine - WMU Theatre



About The Play: Tribes is the touching and complicated story of Billy, the only deaf member of a loving but dysfunctional family. Billy’s world is changed when he meets Sylvia, a young woman who has been raised as the only hearing member of a deaf family. He quickly realizes how isolated from the deaf world he has been by his family in their attempts to avoid making him feel like he is different. While Billy struggles with his identity, the play forces us to ask questions about the meaning of belonging, community, and family. 


This performance features professional Deaf Actor Joseph Ausanio in the role of Billy. 

Content Warning: Mature content. Parental discretion is advised.