Penumbra Exceeds Fundraising Goal; Resumes Programming
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by BWW News Desk
Penumbra announced today that it exceeded its fundraising goal and will resume programming this spring. Over 1,400 individuals, corporations and foundations donated $359,000 by December 30, 2012.
"We are grateful for the tremendous support - and excited to present SPUNK, a George C. Wolfe adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's Three Tales. This sensuous and witty show has a great cast to bring its rich mixture of storytelling, dance and the blues to life," stated Lou Bellamy, Penumbra Founder and Artistic Director. He added, "We are proud to have RBC Wealth Management as the presenter of our spring season which will also feature the popular Let's Talk Theatre and REEL Talk events. Tickets are available now. It will be good to see everyone in the lobby again." The Penumbra Summer Institute, a nationally recognized three-year arts education and leadership training program, was not impacted by the fall suspension and continues as scheduled.
Due to an income shortfall in August, Penumbra made the critical decisions to suspend its fall programming; to reduce its FY13 budget by $800,000 including eliminating six full-time staff positions; and, to set a goal to raise $340,000 by calendar year end. Observed Michael Kaiser, President of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, "It is a great testament to the vision and commitment of the board and staff of Penumbra that this remarkable goal has been achieved. It is especially gratifying that so many individuals have made contributions towards this goal. Of course, the organization must now build on this foundation to ensure that its programming can thrive and that Penumbra can maintain its leadership position in the arts ecology of the Twin Cities and the nation."
Penumbra has also committed to develop a seven-year business plan (FY14 through FY20) by June 30, 2013. The plan will identify the most effective structural and financial models to ensure sustainability while incorporating artistic and administrative succession. 3M is providing members from their Strategy Development and their Lean Six Sigma groups to help lead the project and to provide analysis on the viability of the key revenue streams. The 2020 vision remains true to Penumbra's mission and legacy and will not change what it does but it will change how it activates the mission. It is a vision of a sustainable and vibrant culturally specific theater that uses technology to connect people to the art, and, that supports itself through profit generating business units.
"Penumbra has strong internal systems in place to complete implementation of the business model changes. The discovery of the cash flow problem this summer surfaced a weakness in the system that was addressed with authority and speed," stated Kate Barr, Executive Director of Nonprofits Assistance Fund. Barr added "I believe that with continued commitment from staff and board leadership, support from key stakeholders and supporters, and a shared vision, Penumbra can rebound from this serious setback and build an institution for the future."
PENUMBRA SPRING 2013 SEASON
All activities take place at Penumbra Theatre, 270 North Kent Street, St. Paul, MN. All tickets for the play or any other activities can be made online at www.penumbratheatre.org or call the box office at 651-224-3180. Check the Penumbra website which is updated continuously with more details and news at www.penumbratheatre.org or call the box office at 651-224-3180.
§ Let's Talk Theatre is an intimate social gathering paired with thought-provoking topics about theatre and the making of culturally specific art, hosted by Sarah Bellamy, Associate Artistic Director - Education. On Monday, February 18, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, we will explore the Harlem Renaissance and the Little Theatre Movement, and celebrate the generative spirit and cultural wellspring of Black Thought and art in America during the 1920s and 1930s - the era in which SPUNK is set. Tickets are $15.
§ Bookends are an informal, content rich way to prepare for and reflect upon SPUNK. At the first Bookend on Monday, March 18, you will explore the script and study guide together, as well as hear insights about the production. After you see the play, the second Bookend on Monday, April 1, is a lively discussion about your experience and the themes in the play. These facilitated discussions are hosted by members of the Penumbra Education team. Tickets are $20 for both sessions.
1998. Producer/Directors: Alvaro Toepke and Angel Serrano
· Monday, May 20, 7pm to 10pm: Killer of Sheep
1977. Producer/Directors: Charles Burnett.
Around the Country
Penumbra Theatre was founded by Lou Bellamy in 1976 as an artistic response to the fight for civil rights and equality. However, to set a theater down inside a black community was an especially courageous act. The theater had to run the risk of its own humanity to find itself. It had to convince itself of its right to exist, and, that art created from the content of black American life could offer sustenance in spite of society's profound denial. For 36 years, Penumbra has undertaken that investigation, thus opening avenues to reconstruct the American narrative to include and celebrate the black experience. The invitation to participate and explore the themes of racism and social justice raised by the art is the core of Penumbra's mission to create lasting social change. This mission is accomplished through stories that are told by, for, and about African Americans-through art that is unapologetic and authentic. Penumbra uses the main stage as the starting place for this important dialogue about race, difference, and acceptance. This authenticity and veracity define the standards of the art it develops and produces, and drives the education programs to support the art with rigorous, cultural and historical scholarship, as well as to create a point of entry for everyone.
The arts culture is an ecosystem whose vibrancy depends on a balance among a diverse range of organizations, artists and disciplines. As the state's only professional African American theater, Penumbra is vital to this mix.
Pictured: Lou Bellamy