I’m a rather new member of the theater community here in the Twin Cities, only being highly active for the last year and a half or so. I started with an internship at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis during the spring and summer of 2013, but it took me a while to find my way back, eventually through an internship and job working front of house at the History Theatre in St. Paul in 2014. Now I’m juggling box office at the Guthrie, freelance dramaturgy throughout town, and moving into playwriting.
Occasionally, I meet someone who is confused as to why I’m in Minnesota. “If you want to do theater, why don’t you move to New York? There’s so much theater there. Isn’t that the place to be?”
Without debate, New York is the place to be for theater. But it’s not the only place and it isn’t necessarily the best place for me. The Twin Cities offers a tight-knit yet diverse community with numerous theaters in town. It’s claimed that we have more theaters per capita than any other city in North America, aside from NYC (via localwiki and word of mouth) but this is hotly contested and not quite accurate. That being said, for not being the most recognizable city in the Midwest, we do pretty well for ourselves with touring productions, local shows, and producing new works and talented artists.
While we are rather well renown, I find the community very approachable as a newcomer, whereas New York would involve me moving to a completely new city where I don’t know anyone at all, is an incredibly competitive and, in the opinion of some I know, a cutthroat place to be. As a beginner, it’s much easier to get one’s foot in the door in a place like Minneapolis, where I can easily meet with people who are willing to share their experiences with me and give me advice and networking opportunities.
As this blog grows, discussing theater here in town will be a large part of this blog, as well as what makes theater in the Twin Cities unique. With our cold winters, landlocked setting, and Scandinavian roots, what caused such a hotbed of theater arts to appear? Ponder that, read Peg Guilfoyle’s book Offstage Voices (a great introduction to Twin Cities theater, including the perspectives of local artists), and look for more thoughts in the weeks to come.