Nimbus announces plans to move and expand

November 17, 2015

nimbus announces plans for growth, relocation


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - (Minneapolis - November 17, 2015) - Nimbus Theater will move from its current location on Central Avenue in northeast Minneapolis in January of 2016. Plans are underway for the edgy independent theater to inhabit new digs, and to expand on their success as an artist-driven collaborative with a particular focus on new work.



The announcement comes on the heels of an unexpected impasse with the landlords at nimbus’ 1517 Central Avenue space, according to co-artistic directors Liz Neerland and Josh Cragun. The company’s current lease runs to the end of the year. Neerland says they had been in negotiation with First and First, the company that owns the space, on a renewal, but the  management company surprised nimbus with a radical increase in rent. “We made every effort to communicate with them, looking for a path that would allow us to remain in the space,” reports Cragun. “After almost a year of back-and-forth, they informed us they were not interested in negotiating.”



Since inhabiting the Central Avenue space in 2011, the stage has rarely been dark, with programming both by nimbus as well as from other independent theater companies renting the venue. Robin Gillette, arts consultant at Arts Progress and former Executive Director of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, commented on the news:  

“It was so terrific to watch nimbus not only carve out a lovely theater space in a neighborhood that lacked one, but to watch them operate it in such a competent manner. There's a reason rentals there were so sought-after - there aren't many rental spaces that size that are well-equipped, properly maintained and professionally managed. With closures at the Lowry Lab, Gremlin, Cedar-Riverside People's Center, and development threatening the Theater Garage, there are very few venues left for independent theaters in the Twin Cities.”

Ruth Virkus, Co-Artistic Director of Freshwater Theatre Company, also weighed in:

“Freshwater grew up right along with 1517 Central. We would not have been able to accomplish what we've accomplished without their generosity in sharing resources and support. Losing this space is a huge loss for Freshwater and the other companies who had access to the best equipped theater in town at an affordable price.”



Plans are underway to move nimbus forward both as a theater company and as a community partner in Minneapolis. Says Cragun,  “If we could have grown within our current space, we absolutely would have. But when we took a hard look at where we were and where we needed to go, when we sat down and looked at what our mission should be for the next decade, we knew we needed a larger space. Our vision for the future involves much more than simply creating theater or being just a venue. We want to become a resource for the community. We are already a vital part of what it means to produce new work in the Twin Cities, and we want to expand upon that. To give artists the tools and the space to create new work that is fully realized. To help connect artists to audiences, and to grow the audience for independent theater in the Twin Cities.”



While a new home is yet to be finalized, there are several potential spaces the company is looking at. “There are a lot of boxes to tick off with a new theater, and not just with the stage space,” Neerland said. “Does it have high ceilings and good sightlines? Great. Now what about location, parking, public transit, ADA, plumbing, enough electricity, fire exits, and such. We have identified a couple of very good possibilities, and are moving quickly to make one of them our next home.”

Nimbus plans to have the new space up and running as soon as possible. “Because all of our equipment at 1517 is portable, build-out at the new space should go a lot faster. We’d like to inaugurate the theater with a raw-space production in the spring, and ideally be up and running for ourselves and other companies by the summer,” continued Cragun. “We will be back providing a home for independent theater as soon as possible.”


The Storms of Novembernimbus’ current original script about the men and women who inhabit the unpredictable world of inland shipping on Lake Superior, is currently running now through November 22nd at their Central Avenue space.

Press inquiries:
Liz Neerland or Josh Cragun