Bedlam Lowertown: Arrivals and Departures

Bedlam Theatre

Funding Received: 2013
St. Paul, MN
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
March 13, 2014

Bedlam staff and St. Paul "culture czar" Joe Spencer; photo by Farrington Starnes

The beginning of a new calendar & fiscal year at a nonprofit is always a hectic time of deadlines and year­end wrap­up. At Bedlam, we also carve out time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the next, as individuals and as an organization. Since 2007 Bedlam staff have practiced annual self­ and peer­ evaluations in a distinctly Bedlam way. The major goals of these reviews are to celebrate our successes, re­evaluate how each individual can best serve Bedlam’s mission, and ensure Bedlam’s organizational structure is supporting each individual.

In the spirit of reflecting and celebrating what will likely be a pivotal year in our organization’s history, we hosted a State of the Bedlam Address in late January. Despite a significant winter storm, dozens of Bedlam stakeholders and community members joined us at Bedlam Lowertown for chili and planning. As our grand opening inches closer, we are thrilled to be preparing the community to mobilize on a whole new level of volunteerism and engagement.

Recent Wins
-- We’ve kicked of a year of new short work development with the opening of Short Town, a re­imagining of our signature 10Fest.

-- Bedlam’s Collective Noise team partied with Knight Foundation representatives and the St. Paul Mayor during the announcement of Knight’s St. Paul Arts Challenge, a community­wide contest to fund the best ideas for the arts. Just one of many examples of the opportunities a solid infrastructure can support, while Mohamed Samatar was posing for selfies with the Mayor, Chief Artistic Officer and a cadre of volunteers painted the ceiling at Bedlam Lowertown.

-- Construction! Nearly! Done! We got walls and floors and HVAC and hood and now we’re painting and sanding and lighting.

-- Light rail trains are being tested daily, bells and all. It’s exciting to feel how close we are to opening.

John Bueche’s State of the Bedlam Address: “In 2013 we ramped up the ramp in the most interesting of ways: more than 26 venues, only two of which tentatively our own. We involved more people in performance than we have in most any of our years, and it still seemed a little quiet. And truly it likely was a little quiet compared to this time ahead . . . We have always celebrated our individual inspirations and our collective conquerings. This year we will we will celebrate more because we will be more. We will turn inspirations into shorts and we will turn inspirations into longs. We will join together to study which side of the wrench is up. We have always worked together; we have always had one another’s backs. This year we will work more together, because there are more of us, because we’re another year wiser and another year calmer. We will celebrate one another like never before. Because you are worth it my friend. We are worth it. The hard work is worth it. The imagination into action is worth it. The simplicity of being with one another. Is worth it.”