The Minnesota theater community offers its audiences the finest on-stage work in the country. It continues to be a treasure bringing quality to the lives of many, though not yet all, Minnesotans. Today, there is an ache in this Minnesota theater community as its past meets its present, as its coffers remain un-full, as the competition from cell phones, tablets, and TV is at a zenith (as theater writers depart for “greener” pastures).
Strategic Planning guru David LaPiana keenly observes that non-profits often play out internally the very social malaise that they tried to address externally. As we at Mixed Blood plot our 44th season, we muse about the incalculable value of being part of this theater community and how we together can enrich, expand, and cross-pollinate our audiences.
It has been said that a community is defined by the people who have stuck around long enough to become a caricature of themselves. I look in the mirror every day to see if that is true of me as leader of Mixed Blood. In the aftermath of what I consider the best mainstage season of our 43, a season in which we allowed/forced a look in to Black Lives Matter, Second Amendment rights, MeToo, reproductive rights, immigration, climate change, and autonomous vehicles, a year in which City Pages declared Mixed Blood the Best Theater (2018), and a year that hosted The Fringe, SPCPA, Pangea, Turtle Collective, Underdog Theater, and countless events of Cedar Riverside residents, politicians, and businesses, that mirror ain’t tellin’ me it’s time to go to pasture.
At Mixed Blood, the best is yet to come. I am convinced the same can be said for Minnesota theaters big and small, old and young… even as we change to thrive.
There has been a mantra that if we, the Twin Cities theaters, are splintered, we are doomed. In these times, this maxim bears reconfirmation and calls for common cause. As people watch whatever they want to watch whenever they want to watch it from wherever they are for free, live events of all kinds – from the Vikings to the Orchestra to the Guthrie to storefront theaters and gymnatorium dance companies – need to band together, knowing that people gathering at a live event is a win-win-win for all. We need to convince evolving participants that coming together – traveling through weather to go to a particular place at a particular time and plunking down money – is, indeed, a great decision.