It's difficult to believe it was little over eight months ago that we closed Frank's most recent production. After wrestling to get the rights to perform Danai Gurira's THE CONVERT for eight years (since we produced Gurira's ECLIPSED in 2011), we were thrilled to receive permission to finally stage THE CONVERT after who-knows-how-many rehearsal room readings. The cast of Ashe Jaafaru, Ivory Doublette, Hope Cervantes, Maje Adams, Yinka Ayinde, Warren C. Bowles and A J Friday was a powerful force. The show was met with unanimous rave reviews and incredible response from our audience.
Then the coronavirus brought the curtain down; the last weekend was a nail-biter, as we wondered if we should cancel the final performances, if it was ethical to continue, wondering what risks we were subjecting our artists and audiences to. We squeaked through the closing weekend and it was a brilliant finish to our 31st season. Little did we know that we'd soon have no idea when we'd be back.
Soon after that, the uprising in south Minneapolis resulted in fires which demolished the Hexagon Bar across the street from Frank's rehearsal space in the Ivy Building for the Arts, in the Seward neighborhood. Debris from the fire blew across the street and started the roof of the Ivy Building on fire. The fire department and the National Guard spent a good part of the early morning battling the flames. The fire and water damage destroyed a number of artists' studios in the building. Frank's space, located at the other end of the building, luckily escaped damage, but due to the extent of the damages to the rest of the building, it had to be closed down and has remained closed since June.
But we’re feisty, we’re fighters, and we have a great following. We’re rallying all of our resources to survive COVID-19 and other challenges. During this enforced pause that we're on, we've sought to find ways to keep Frank in the mix. One of the things we so dearly miss are the conversations about the issues that drive Frank's work. In an effort to keep present, we began a monthly, online conversation series called "Frankly Speaking: What's up with that?" (Yes, we swiped the title from our newsletter.) A monthly Facebook live event (also housed on our website), we've scheduled conversations with panelists about issues that the arts community is wrestling with. Check out the archives for some great conversation. These continue the first Wednesday of each month on our Facebook page. We're SO eager to get back into the rehearsal room and back in the theatre with YOU.
Anything you can do to help us battle these obstacles is greatly appreciated. We were hoping to be back in the spring, but that timeline looks dodgy; in any case, we’re getting ready to come roaring back whenever the time is right! We want to thank you for the support over the past three decades. We hope to see you soon as possible!
An enduring staple in the Twin Cities theatre community, Frank Theatre is recognized as a local authority in interpreting the works of Bertolt Brecht, Caryl Churchill and introduced the work of Suzan-Lori Parks to Twin Cities’ audiences. Frank’s work has been recognized with several Ivey awards, regular appearances on the annual “Best Of” lists in the local press, and a strong base of individual support. Among its many distinctions is the theatre’s willingness to stage work in non-traditional settings. It inhabited the former Sears building on Lake Street in Minneapolis just before it was developed as the Midtown Global Market, the former “A” Mill of the Pillsbury Mill on the Mississippi River, and most recently a vacant Rainbow Foods store on Lake Street.
Knox may be best known as a relentless director who is not a fan of complacency. Her subversive, provocative, politically and artistically edgy style has created a cult following of Frank fans. Her thoughtful, collaborative style as a director makes her refreshing to work with as an actor.