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20 17 18 41ST SEASON


Art for


Change. Penumbra Theatre is a dynamic arts organization with matchless community engagement and education programs. In addition to our critically acclaimed main stage productions, we open our doors to thousands of patrons every year who value our deeply emotional and educational approach to exploring issues of race and racism. Penumbra has built a trusted name in Minnesota as a social justice leader in the arts, inviting audiences to consider the most urgent issues of the day with unflinching honesty and courageous compassion. Artists value Penumbra as a restorative space where their spirits


are nurtured and their voices are amplified without mediation. Youth find a platform for learning and leadership development that sets them on a lifechanging course to dedicate their talents and intellect to bettering our world. Penumbra’s reach is deep and wide. Through the African American experience we draw together a diverse and beautiful community throughout the state and nation. During our yearlong exploration of interracial relationships and multiracial identity, we heard from individuals, families, and couples who extended profound gratitude for illuminating their experiences—acknowledging their challenges and celebrating their victories. We are committed to using our stage as a platform to interrogate our collective ethics and Penumbra’s institutional reach to expand civic engagement. I hope it will do your heart good to look at what we’ve accomplished together this year! Thank you for your support and for staying #PenumbraProud!

Sarah Bellamy Artistic Director

“A flawless, passionate, heartbreaking, intellectually honest production. Penumbra does it right! Teach your heart. Go and learn.” –THIS BITTER EARTH PATRON



PERFORMANCES, SCREENINGS & CONVERSATIONS. Our 41st season Crossing Lines explored what happens when the boundlessness of love meets the boundaries of our identities. Under Artistic Director Sarah Bellamy’s leadership, we produced works by black artists who dared to see beyond society’s difficult divides, curated conversations to tackle important issues facing our community, and offered programming that celebrated African American art and culture. Our season began with Alice Childress’ story of embattled interracial lovers. Directed by Lou Bellamy, Wedding Band proved strikingly relevant as race continues to take center stage in American politics. Black Nativity enchanted record crowds in December, sustaining Penumbra’s cherished holiday tradition. Penumbra Theatre and Children’s Theatre Company embarked upon an historic partnership to coproduce The Wiz, bringing over 60,000 people the best of what both companies have to offer. Each bring a passion of advocacy for their often underserved audiences that allowed these two treasured companies to forge something together that neither could do alone. Roger Guenveur Smith returned with the stirring Frederick Douglass Now followed by the world premiere of Joy Rebel, Khanisha Foster’s one-woman show about multiracial identity. And we ended our season with This Bitter Earth, a searing portrait of love in the time of #blacklivesmatter by playwright Harrison David Rivers and directed by Penumbra company member Talvin Wilks. Our patrons shared an outpouring of praise and gratitude for the play and many came back multiple times to revisit this dynamic new work before it closed.




The percentage of new ticket buyers this season, continuing our upward trend from 49% last season.

The number of audiences engaged this season, including patrons of The Wiz, Penumbra’s co-production with Children’s Theatre Company.

The amount subsidized to provide access to our main stage shows for students, families, and elders who otherwise would not be able to attend.



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“Summer Institute makes me feel alive— this energy, these people.” –SELAH, FIRST YEAR SUMMER INSTITUTE STUDENT

Sponsored by Kris Arneson Cutler and Clint Cutler, Laurel Lapore, Loaves and Fishes, Surdna Foundation, Xcel Energy Foundation, and The Estate of Melanie Haddox.


YOUTH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT. Summer Institute is Penumbra’s multi-year leadership development program training teens to harness their passion for the arts to promote civic engagement and coalition building. Over four weeks last summer, 31 students worked with professional artists, teachers, and nonprofit leaders to engage challenges of social equity. They took post-secondary courses on literature, acting, dance and music, all while practicing mutual accountability, goal setting, and social-emotional confidence. On our first Friday together we shared the Youth Artist Retreat Day, introducing students to college life and beyond with resume workshops, portfolio building exercises, professional headshots, group discussions with Minnesota’s experts in fields of social justice work, campus tours, and an overnight dorm stay at the University of Minnesota. For the first three weeks of Summer Institute, students studied and rehearsed 8 hours a day on the University of Minnesota campus. Students are provided with free meals, transportation, and scholarships to ensure that cost is never a barrier for participation. The 2017 program culminated with powerful original performance pieces created by our students. Penumbra’s Summer Institute remains the gold standard in training the next generation of activist artists.




The percentage of our student body who identify as African American each year. The rest of the 2017 class was made up of students who identify as Somali, First Nations’ and Japanese.

The amount of money we invest in each student annually. In 2017, 65% of our students required scholarships to afford the $400 cost of tuition for the 5-week program.

The percentage of students who reported that the program encouraged them to make positive decisions, take risks, learn from mistakes, and creatively problem-solve.




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IMAGINING A MORE INCLUSIVE TOMORROW “This whole experience has been cathartic—as an artist and as a human being.” –REBEKAH, MY AMERICA FINALIST

Sponsored by MPR News and supported in part by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge funds ideas that engage and enrich St. Paul through the arts. Additional support provided by the Bush Foundation and the Marbrook Foundation. A very special thank you to David Mura and the creative team at Carmichael Lynch.


CIVIC ENGAGEMENT. New under Sarah Bellamy’s leadership, Penumbra has committed to annual civic engagement campaigns that leverage the arts to create more inclusive, compassionate communities. Last fall, in partnership with MPR News, we asked Minnesotans to share their stories of America with us. Through the power of personal narrative, Minnesotans illuminated our collective dreams, fears, losses and triumphs. We distributed submission materials in English, Spanish, Somali, and Hmong, reaching Minnesotans from Bemidji to Rochester, from Luverne to Marine on St. Croix. A diverse group of readers reviewed almost 100 stories from across the state and through two rounds of evaluation, 12 finalists were selected to join us for 3 full weekends of workshops. Our sold-out Let’s Talk My America event on March 12th featured live performances by our finalists and insight from a panel of community leaders including artist Wing Young Huie, organizer Erin Sharkey, educator David Melendez, and Phillipe Cunningham, the nation’s first trans council member of color. Our 12 finalists represented a beautiful cross-section of the American experience—ranging in age from 14 to 75, they worshiped differently, came from varying class backgrounds, were immigrant and indigenous, and lived in both rural and urban locations. They were majority female, and like every community in our country, our group included one member who was incarcerated and could not participate in person. They were all, unquestionably, Minnesotan. As we strive to fulfill our nation’s promise, these brave storytellers made us proud to be Americans.




The number of zip codes we received submissions from across the state. Applicants from as far north as Bemidji and as far south as Pine Island shared their stories with us.

The percentage of applicants who identified as a person of color. 30% identified as African American, 12% Mixed Race, 8% Native American, 5% Asian American, and 45% Caucasian.

The number of submissions that came from men and women in Minnesota’s correctional facilities. One of our finalists, known by her pen name Glitter Squirrel, participated from prison.



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“The entire discussion gave me so much to think about. It was personal and moving, and encouraged selfexamination in a productive way.” –RACE WORKSHOP PARTICIPANT


EQUITY TRAINING. Since 2006 we have invested in artists who are trained in our signature method of art for social change. Whether our teams are working with ten year-olds to create a culture of inclusion at school, or training adults to foster equity inside community organizations and businesses, our highly customized curricula drives positive change for our partner institutions. This year we worked with organizations across the country— from the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco to the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore—to encourage engagement around issues of race and equity. Our RACE Workshop combined expert facilitation, a powerful exploration of race in America, monologues from artists, and opportunities for the participants to use theatre as a way to problem-solve and model. We expanded our in-school residency programming that invites youth to explore topics of race, identity, and stereotypes. We celebrated our 5th year of partnership with St. Paul Academy and Summit Schools, logging 155 contact hours with their 5th, 7th, and 8th grade students, and created an original performance piece with the students of color affinity group for the entire upper school. Last fall we also initiated a new residency program with Greenwich Academy in Connecticut. In partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Penumbra embarked upon the planning of a multi-year initiative to reduce juvenile incarceration and improve outcomes for youth in custody. Over the next two years, Penumbra’s national field team will train adults in direct contact with youth in detention in six cities across the country as part of the foundation’s transformational Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives.




The average number of people served annually through our equity training services including our RACE Workshops, Art for Social Change workshops, and in-school residencies.

The number of clients who booked our RACE Workshops this year including 3M, Washburn Center for Children, the MN Association of County Social Service Administrators, and more.

The number of teaching artists trained in Penumbra’s race and equity facilitation. Penumbra compensates teaching artists at twice the rate of the largest arts organizations in Minnesota.



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GROWING OUR FAMILY “What Penumbra is doing to create dialogue and conversation is so important right now... thank you for everything you do.” –CAROL, A PENUMBRA SUPPORTER


OUR COMMUNITY OF SUPPORTERS. None of what we do at Penumbra Theatre could happen without the support of our donors and funders. We are so fortunate to be part of a community that values the arts as deeply as Minnesota does—we truly are the envy of the nation. This year we earned new and increased funding from St. Paul Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Knight Arts Challenge, Cedarwoods Foundation, Marbrook Foundation, Bush Foundation, Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, and the Dramatist Guild Foundation. The increase in support helped to fund programming such as our My America civic engagement campaign and replace critical software to better serve our patrons. Investment in our company ensures that we have the capacity to fulfill the promise of our unique mission. In November longtime supporters gathered to honor Penumbra Theatre founder and Artistic Director Emeritus Lou Bellamy, who received the Margo Jones Award commemorating pioneers of the American professional regional theatre movement. They recognized Bellamy as a “citizen-of-the-theatre who has demonstrated a significant impact, understanding and affirmation of the craft of playwriting, with a lifetime commitment to the encouragement of the living theatre everywhere.” In April we celebrated our second annual Baobab Brunch at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul. With a riveting keynote from Alexis Pauline Gumbs and live performances from Penumbra’s circle of artists, our most ardent supporters and friends gathered to celebrate the theatre they love. We recognized long-time supporter Phyllis Goff, a cherished Penumbra family member who truly personifies philanthropic leadership.




The percent increase in foundation and corporate support this season. Longtime funders include the McKnight Foundation, MSAB, Surdna Foundation, Target Foundation, 3Mgives, and more.

The percent increase in households engaged this season. Over the past 3 years we have significantly increased our circle of donors, subscribers, and ticket buyers.

The percentage of our annual budget representing program costs, based on a 4-year average. Gifts made to Penumbra directly support our art for social change.



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The McKnight Foundation

Accenture Minneapolis

R.C. Lilly Foundation

The Minneapolis Foundation

Best Buy Foundation

Securian Foundation

The Pugsley Fund

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Stevens Foster

of the HRK Foundation

Bush Foundation

Financial Services, Inc.

The Saint Paul Foundation

Cargill Foundation

Sundance Family Foundation

The Saint Paul Foundation,

Community Shares

Surdna Foundation

in honor of Sarah Bellamy’s

Minnesota Campaign

Target Foundation

Dramatists Guild Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Ecolab Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Supported in part with funds

The Art and Martha Kaemmer

from Elizabeth A. Ewen’s

Fund of HRK Foundation

US Bank

John E. Forichette Memorial Trust

The Cedarwoods Foundation,

Western Bank

F. R. Bigelow Foundation

Jim Gerlich and Patricia Punykova

Xcel Foundation

General Dynamics

The Cultural STAR Program

Mission Systems, Inc

The David and Leni Moore

Greystone Foundation

Family Foundation of the

Russell B. Hagen Foundation

Minneapolis Foundation

HRK Foundation

The Elizabeth C. Quinlan

Hugh J. Andersen Foundation Marbrook Foundation Medtronic Foundation Minnesota State Arts Board MPR News

Leadership The Shubert Foundation Thomson Reuters Travelers Foundation

Foundation Inc. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation The K Foundation The MAHADH Fund of the HRK Foundation

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support Grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

SPONSORS This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

BAOBAB ANNUAL DONORS. (Donors at $500 or above from July 1, 2017 through June 1, 2018) Paul Acito and Margaret Clouthier Acito Katrice Albert

Linda Foreman and Mel Dickstein Dutton and Caroline Foster

The Allegro Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation

Suzanne Ammerman Melissa Anderson-Rossini

Kay Fredericks and Richard Cisek Ron Frey

Robert Olafson Karen Olson

Anonymous Lisa and Kevin Armstrong

Linda Garrett and Sidney Sasser Julie and William Gay

Judy Ostendorff and Ronald Jensen Marcia and Russell Palma

Kris Arneson Cutler and Clint Cutler Kay C. Bach

Valerie Geaither Annette C. Goff

Tierney Palmer-Klein Thomas and Sally Patterson

Douglas and Julie Baker

Phyllis Rawls Goff

Kathleen Pinkett and Darwin Barker

Mary Beagan Donn and Roger Beaubien Dana and Sidney Bedingfield Jeannine and Robert Befidi Peter Bell and Sharon Bottorff Ruth and John Bergerson Vernon and LuAnn Berglund Randall and Marcia Betcher David and Shari Boehnen Annie Boyd Matthew and Leigh Branson John Burbidge Clifton Brittain and Margaret M. Ladner Suzanne and Fred Burks Scott Cabalka Jane Carlson and Chucks Madhav Richard Cawood Jean and Richard Clarke Joan and Ronald G. Cornwell John (Jay) Cowles and Paige Knudsen Cowles Jean and Joe Crocker Ernest and Gracie Davenport Talaya Dendy Thomas DiPasquale and Roseanne Perra Melanie Douglas William Drake Joe and Lois Duffy Susan and Tom Handley Tom Eckstein and Diane Harder Wilma Eden Kathleen and David Edmond Elizabeth A. Ewen’s John E. Forichette Memorial Trust Frank Fallon Richard and Beverly Fink and the Richard and Beverly Fink Family Fund Mary Grace Flannery and David Flannery Elizabeth Hayden and Charles Flinn

Thomas and Mary Gross Joan Hackel and Peter Michalowski Constance Hanson Fred and Archie Harris Joanne and Allen Hinderaker Coralie Hunter A. John and Ruth Huss Beth Hvass and Anne Pflugi Josie R. Johnson Dr. Charles and Sally Jorgensen Michael Jorgenson James and Jane Kaufman William Kiffmeyer and Laysha Ward Gary and Lavonne King Reatha Clark King F. Alexandra (Sandy) Klas and Robert C. Klas Sr. John Kluge Laurel Lapore Betsy Leach and Mike Jackson James and Susan Lenfestey Kathleen and Allen Lenzmeier Ann Lowry and John Overton Judith Maas Eileen and Kevin Maler Gaye and Harold Massey Joyce and Richard McFarland John and Sue McKelvey Mark McLellan Mary McVay and the McVay Foundation Robert and Mary S. Mersky Lavonne Michaud and Gregg Bloom Peter Miller Sandy and Robert Morris Jill Mortensen and Kay Phillips J. Thomas and Janet R. Nelson Eric Newman and Janice Gepner Gayle and Tim Ober and

Patty Ploetz Chris and Dwight Porter Carleen Rhodes Mary Riordan Terry and Marcia Robinson Sandra Roe Richard Rose Lucy Rosenberry Jones and Jim Johnson Kennon and Nina Rothchild Lynn and Tom Rusch Jeffrey and Karol Saunders Sharon Sayles Belton and Steve Belton Sara J. Schaefer Ryan Sheppard Raymond Shields Jana Shortal Barbara and Dennis Smith Stephanie Sommer and Stephen Spencer Katherine Sophia Emily Anne Staples Tuttle Sharron Steinfeldt Catherine and Paul Stemper Robert Storlie Brooke Story Timothy and Beth Sullivan Mary and David Super Joseph Tashjian and Kay Savik Linn Veltema Richard Voelbel Dorothy and Frederick Waltz Caroline Wanga David and Ruth Waterbury Nancy Weingartner Anita Welch Stew and Chris Widdess Karla and Paul Williams Diane Young Nancy Zingale and William Flanigan




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