nimbus announces new home
Theater company announces new arts center in Northeast Minneapolis
July 22, 2016
On July 22, Liz Neerland and Josh Cragun, co-artistic directors of nimbus, a Minneapolis theater company founded in 2001, signed a lease on new a new home at 2303 Kennedy Street NE in Northeast Minneapolis. Nearly doubling the size of their previous space, the 7000 square foot facility, when completed, will allow the company to both expand its production capabilities and solidify its place as a hub and resource for independent theater in the area. Preparations are underway to inaugurate the space with a new original work, The Kalevala, in October.
In November of last year the company announced it would be ending its five year run at the warehouse it converted into a seventy-five seat performance space on Central Avenue NE, and return in 2016 with the goal of expanding its space while honing its mission to focus on the creation of new, local theater. The new facility will showcase nimbus’ original works, and serve as an incubator of other independent theaters in the area, offering production facilities, training and support. “In five short years, we simply began to outgrow the space on Cental Avenue. We were getting more rental requests than we could accomodate, and our audiences grew year over year,” said co-artistic director Josh Cragun.
The Kennedy Street location was the result of an exhaustive search process. After packing up their old theater and stowing everything from the seats and lighting grid to the stage floor in a storage facility, the nimbus team reviewed several different properties, each presenting advantages and challenges as they searched for a new home not only for themselves, but one where they could deliver on their mission of building community and becoming a larger resource for independent theater in Minneapolis. Said Cragun, “The second we walked into the Kennedy space we knew it was right. We had some alternatives we thought were promising, but after we took our board and company through them all, it was unanimous: Kennedy would be our new home.”
The new space boasts 7000 square feet, nearly double that of their previous venue. Floor plans are not yet finalized, but will include expanded production, staging, and public areas. The facility will be available for rentals when a nimbus production is not in residence. The building also has a dedicated parking lot, another feature that was lacking at their previous home. “The location is quite ideal,” said Neerland. “It’s on a quiet, industrial street where we won’t disturb the neighbors. It has great car, bus, and bike access. There are two taprooms and a distillery close by, and a choice of great restaurants in the area.”
Renovations and the “unpacking” of the theater into its new home will begin in early August and continue through the summer, with an inaugural production, The Kalevala, scheduled for October. The Kalevala is an adaptation of an epic poem of the same name, a compilation of Finnish folklore and mythology. Stockholm-based translator and long time nimbus collaborator Danielle Blackbird is working closely with Neerland on the text, with Cragun directing.
nimbus continues to pursue its mission to produce artist driven, eclectic and collaborative works, and expand and develop its role in the community. Since their inception in 2001 they have delivered a slew of original productions: Beautiful Things, American Noise, TV Men, Babel, Bohemian Flats, Tesla, From Darkness, The Lower Depths, In the Age of Paint and Bone, and their most recent production, The Storms of November. In addition, they have produced thoughtfully selected works of playwrights as diverse as Jean Genet (The Balcony), Kurt Vonnegut (Happy Birthday Wanda June), Naomi Iizuka (Strike-Slip), Dario Fo (Accidental Death of an Anarchist), and an original translation of August Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata, for which long time nimbus collaborator Zach Morgan’s set design was recognized by City Pages as a 2015 “Best of the Twin Cities” achievement.