Denver Actors Fund in Action: Miriam Suzanne
Aid recipient: Miriam Suzanne is a True West Award-winning writer, director, producer, actor and musician whose unconventional novel Riding SideSaddle was adapted for the stage by Buntport Theater in 2016 as 10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products. The play, a story of gender fluidity and transition, took place in a bathroom as Suzanne’s three-person band, Teacup Gorilla, provided live music — from the bathtub. More recently, Suzanne was part of the Grapefruit Lab ensemble that created and presented the Henry Award-nominated JANE/EYRE this past February. Next month, when the DCPA’s Off-Center presents Bite-Size, an evening of original short plays by Colorado artists at BookBar, the program will include Outside the Room, a collaboration between Theatre Artibus and Grapefruit Lab. It’s a physical-theatre piece that imagines what happens on the other side of the iconic room in Kafka’s Metamorphosis.
Miriam’s medical story: On Monday, Mia (who prefers “she, her and hers” pronouns) took her biggest step yet on a journey that essentially began at birth: Her long-awaited gender-confirming surgery. She says: “Transition never really starts, and it never really ends. I started mine in January of 2016, with hormone-replacement therapy. Or I started in October of 2015, when I came out to friends and family – changing my name to Miriam. Or I started earlier that summer, when I first told a handful of people that ‘I think I’m trans.’ Or I started in 2011, when I first began to identify as ‘gender queer’ – happy to find a word that might describe my feelings and confusion. Or I started my transition years earlier, in puberty, when everything went the wrong way, and I pushed back in the only ways I knew how.”
What’s next: Mia will be in the hospital for another two or three days. After that, recovery is expected to be slow and difficult — with up to six weeks of limited movement before she will be cleared to return to her job. “While this surgery grabs the imagination — and fears — of our culture, for us, it is one more step in a long process,” she said. “It is an expensive step, and a step we have to fight for, but one that can have massive impact on our embodiment of our own bodies.”
How we are helping: The Denver Actors Fund approaches all surgical cases in one of two ways: Either by considering reimbursement of specific medical bills, or by assisting with basic living expenses as the applicant recovers and is unable to work. Mia’s out-of-pocket surgical expenses will total $7,150, an amount that was recently reached by donations to a generous gofundme initiative. However, Mia will lose at least six weeks of wages, leaving her with no means of paying for basic living expenses. The Denver Actors Fund Board of Directors carefully considered an assessment of Mia’s financial responsibilities and has approved a grant of $3,410 specifically to help cover her living expenses for two months.
How you can help us help Mia more: If you would like to direct a specific donation to provide Mia with more financial breathing room, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Miriam Suzanne’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation to Miriam Suzanne. (She will receive 100 percent of your donation.) Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the Denver Actors Fund’s general fund.
A message from Miriam: “Thank you. It is humbling to rely on others, especially in such a personal process. When I got the call in July, with a surgery date in September, I assumed this would be a massive new debt to carry alone. But your help has been a huge gift, allowing me to focus on recovery rather than worrying about the bills. From late-night tech rehearsals to late-night conversations, I’ve found so much support in Denver, and in the artistic community. I’m so grateful to know you. It has taken me years to accept this part of my life, and to decide that my happiness might be worth the (any) effort. From the outside, transition may look like hormone pills, paperwork, and surgery – but for me it’s a life-long struggle to repair the damage of 30-odd years dissociating from my body, from emotions, from desire. From the start, you – my chosen family – have been part of that process. You’ve helped me find acceptance, and rebuild a life worth living. Surgery is only one more step along the way, and (as personal as it may be), I’m thankful to have you by my side.
The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $262,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need. If you would to help us replenish our general fund, simply mail checks made out to The Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO, 80212. Or use this donation link.
Note: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have his or her story told.
HOW YOU CAN HELP US REPLENISH:
To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund, please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks)
ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:
The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to $262,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers has offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:
MORE WAYS TO HELP:
DONATE BY MAIL:
Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212
Ever thought about taking a more active role in the Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information
COME TO OUR EVENTS:
‘Miscast’ returns Sept. 17: “Miscast,” which is presented each year by Robert Michael Sanders as a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund, is an opportunity for local performers to sing songs and act out scenes they would never … ever! … get cast to perform on any legit stage. Think gender-bending, race-bending and age-bending. Odd couples and mixed groups. Wrong is oh so right. “Miscast” has evolved over the years into one of the biggest nights of the year in the Colorado theatre community – and it is a really good show. “Miscast 2018” will be held Sept. 17 at a new location: The Mizel Arts and Culture Center. Purchase tickets here or avoid fees by ordering by phone at 303.316.6360. (Leave a message if unattended.)
Miners Alley Playhouse Sept. 24: Miners Alley Playhouse’ has designated the Monday, Sept. 24 performance of Lungs as a fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund. Lungs a follows a couple through the surprising lifespan of their relationship as they grapple with questions of family, change, hope, betrayal, happenstance and the kind of pain you can only cause someone you love. Featuring the husband-and-wife acting team of Adrian Egolf and Luke Sorge. Written by Duncan Macmillan. 7:30 p.m. at 1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com
Aurora Fox Oct. 29: The Aurora Fox will present the hair-raising rock opera “Killer Wigs from Outer Space” with proceeds benefiting the Denver Actors Fund. “Killer Wigs From Outer Space,” set in 1985, tells the story of a down-on-his-luck carnival worker named Orville who falls prey to a brain-eating parasite from outer space — with fabulous hair. This powerful alien transforms Orville into O, a rock star who becomes a prophet for peace and beauty. O must tackle true evil when confronted by a terrifying media tyrant who is poised to take over the world. Attendees are encouraged to B.Y.O.W. (Bring Your Own Wig) for the “Wig Out” dance party after the show! Music and Lyrics by David Nehls, with additional Lyrics by Zac Miller. Tickets $25. 7:30 p.m. 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafoxartscenter.org
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