NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | Nimbus Theatre growing in Northeast Minneapolis


Creative space is in the eye of the beholder. Today  Nimbus Theatre, 1517 Central Avenue Northeast (Just off Broadway!)  is a glowing and growing presence on the Northeast arts scene.  When theatrical Liz Neerland and Josh Cragun took a look at the structure that fills the former alley between the Alamo Building and the commercial property next door they saw an ideal site for their theater.  That takes youth, vision, commitment and a whole lot of courage.  And this spirited couple had the creative imagination and energy to see the possibilities they now realize as they move into their second production season.  For Nimbus supporters and for the Northeast arts community, the benefits are great.

For a decade Nimbus broke new ground in experimental and challenging theater in the Twin Cities. Their interest is selecting and producing “an engaging mix of under-appreciated works by established playwrights, new plays by emerging playwrights and innovative company-created productions.” Writing on their website, Neerland and Cragun tell their story:

Above the maddening din of pat answers, advertising chatter, and pop culture jingles, nimbus asks our audiences, collaborators, and conspirators to question ideas, emotions, and easy answers. We present work that entertains, provokes, challenges, and just plain baffles.

The second production in Season Two meets the mark:  Opening December 2, Woyczak, is a 19th Century work by German playwright Georg Buchner, directed by Nimbus company member Brian Hesser.  Buchner’s play, written in 1827, was later turned into a famous 20th century opera with music by Alban Berg of the second Viennese school.

Recognizing that “the play’s the thing” the theater space itself deserves its proper moment in the spotlight.  First, it’s huge – 4200 square feet of virgin territory, 17 foot ceilings replete with skylights that bathe the daytime theater in sunshine, space waiting to be filled with the life that theater – and audiences – bring.

There’s room for a generous stage where actors can move with ease – room for 75 playgoers who are comfortably ensconced in wonderful old seats with ample room for elbows and knees – room for actors to prepare and for stage gear to be stashed between productions – room a gracious lobby where audiences can gather, chat, and eventually have a sip of something – room for spacious restrooms the owners have constructed with careful attention to accessibility and convenience —  best of all, there’s room to park!  Nimbus has made parking arrangements with a neighbor manufacturer whose parking lot empties out well before theater goers arrive

Performances of Woyzeck are scheduled Thursday through Saturday evenings (7:30) and Sunday afternoons (3:00) through December 17.  Because one goal of Nimbus is to encourage theater goers by keeping the price of tickets within reach;  tickets for Nimbus productions are generally $10-$12.

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