Mixed Blood Theatre building in front of apartment complex on West Bank

As the media, families, and communities reflect on the past decade as 2019 comes to an end, so shall we at Mixed Blood. This is purely my subjective take on the highlights (and some lowlights) since 2010 and I invite others to share that which moved them.

With an unparalleled depth of thought, Mixed Blood’s board studied, dissected, and unanimously voted to launch Radical Hospitality, tackling barriers to participation in live theater in general and Mixed Blood more specifically. Audience composition – in terms of age, race, class, and disability – changed dramatically and it remains our MO today.

On the mainstage were many notable productions. Among them my very favorite included:

NEIGHBORS by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

PUSSY VALLEY by Katori Hall

COLOSSAL by Andrew Hinderaker

ROE by Lisa Loomer

SAFE AT HOME by Gabe Greene and Alex Levy

VIETGONE by Qui Nguyen

HIR by Taylor Mac

AUTONOMY by Ken LaZebnik

AVENUE Q by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, Jeff Whitty

LEARN TO BE LATINA by Enrique Urueta

DISPLACED HINDU GODS TRILOGY by Aditi Kapil

THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY by Kris Diaz

CENTER OF THE MARGINS FESTIVAL of 2011

In our On The Job program we offered

BECAUSE, about the stigmas of mental illness, for Hennepin Health

COME ANYWAY, about adolescent mental illness, for The Wilder Foundation

STARS AND STRIPES, dissuading teens from using gun violence for conflict resolution, for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office

COMPLICATIONS, about EDI as a leadership issue, for HCMC

BENCH BIAS LINGO, offering continuing legal education in bias elimination to MN attorneys

GO ASK ALICE, about people’s complicated relationships with pharmacies, pharmacists, and medicine, for the U of M School of Pharmacy

The films WHICH EXIT, FROM HEAD TO TOES, and ALBERTO’S CHICKEN DINNER were co-produced with TPT and Health Partners and used to train health care providers

Mixed Blood toured:

DR. KING’S DREAM, AFRICAN AMERICA, THEORY OF MIND, MINNECANOS, DAUGHTERS OF AFRICA, BLACK EAGLE, THE DEAF DUCKLING, ACCORDING TO COYOTE, and CORAZON ETERNO.

Mixed Blood’s deep investment in Cedar Riverside grew and deepened, evolving civic engagement, community engagement, and audience engagement. From producing KU SOO DHAWAAEA XAFADEENA with Bedlam Theater to health fairs to “Switch Up” to “Teachers Take The Firehouse” to the expansive Project 154 to “Education Before Action,” Mixed Blood tried to establish itself as an anchor of the West Bank and its East African neighbors.

Sadly, Mixed Blood’s board president Ron McKinley tragically died in a motorcycle accident. Director Marion McClinton passed away on Thanksgiving of this year. Stalwart actor Warren C. Bowles died on stage on opening night of NEIGHBORS, but, happily, was dead for only 20 minutes and continues to contribute to the Twin Cities’ vital theater community. Great staff and board members have departed from their official roles, and, before the next decade is toasted, so will have I. But Mixed Blood’s purpose – promoting and modeling equity and successful pluralism – has never been more urgent. 

At Mixed Blood, the best is yet to come. Happy New Year!