UI MFA candidate Ann Kreitman expands the medium of theater

I’m Writing to You Today is an audio experience that walks listeners throughout Iowa City while sharing LGBTQ+ love letters throughout history.


Ayrton Breckenridge

University of Iowa MFA candidate Ann Kreitman and creator of the podcast “I’m Writing to You Today” poses a portrait on the IMU Footbridge in Iowa City on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. The podcast takes listeners on a small journey through Iowa City, including on the footbridge, while detailing LGBTQ history.

Jami Martin-Trainor, Arts Reporter

Soon after Ann Kreitman came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she happened upon a book of queer love letters. For years, Kreitman said she felt like an outcast in her identity, never seeing herself represented in media or seeing others be out and proud in her community.

That book of love letters full of representative stories connected to Kreitman on a personal level. Using that as inspiration, she created the environmental audio experience titled I’m Writing to You Today.

I’m Writing to You Today is an audio experience that walks listeners throughout Iowa City while sharing LGBTQ+ love letters throughout history. Starting at the University of Iowa Theatre building, the combination of a guided walk and listening experience was initially intended to fill the need for art during the isolation period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The forum was kind of a necessity, in that we didn’t feel safe gathering audiences,” Kreitman said. “You can build a really sincere intimacy between your own ears, listening to someone that closely in a one-on-one experience. I paired that with my other pandemic activity, which was going for a walk, and mapped out a course along campus.”

The book of love letters that Kreitman was inspired by was used in the final product, but more sources were gathered as well. Kreitman expanded her research beyond sapphic relationships and wanted to capture the most inclusive picture that she could. She said she initially had intentions of only including Iowa love stories, but once her research commenced, she soon realized she would have to broaden her scope.

Formally, the listening experience is available for download on Aug. 17 until Sept. 23. Kreitman said that this is the third rendition of her project that has been made available to the public.

Kreitman said that with this piece, she wanted to make students aware that queer history exists, and there is a community for LGBTQ+ students on campus. She said that at times, a Big Ten school can feel intimidating for students, so her listening experience has an opportunity to orient and welcome students to campus.

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“My advisor just thinks that it’s really a great introduction for students who maybe don’t quite have their footing here at the university,” Kreitman said. “They need a little bit of a handhold and this experience works pretty well for that.”

Kreitman also spoke of the timeliness of her project, taking place on a college campus near the start of the year. She said that from her perspective, a lot of LGBTQ+ individuals feel like they only have one chance at love. Kreitman said this listening experience shows that opportunity will always exist, which can be applied in so many situations.

“I think college feels like that. [You feel] like you have this one shot to make friends and have great experiences and get good grades, but sometimes, it doesn’t always work like that,” Kreitman said. “You know, you get chances, and you get more chances, and you get time to do it over, and do it over, and do it over in whatever form that you want.”