Located just three blocks from where George Floyd was murdered, Pillsbury House Theatre has a long history of making space for difficult conversations. Artistic Director Signe Harriday says the new season will focus on community healing.
“I think that conversation and art [are] the beginning part of a process towards healing,” said Harriday. “I don't think you can fix what you cannot name. I do not think that you can make a world you cannot dream. And the theater is the place where we do those two things.”
Harriday says storytelling - with its power to shape the world - comes with responsibility.
“I'm trying to heal like everybody else. As a Black lesbian in the world who is blessed enough to be a grandmother, who is blessed enough to have a very big and expansive community, I see the pain that we face. And I understand the importance of building a better world. And so this work is as much about affirming my own humanity–about uplifting stories that give other people a chance to heal and see themselves. I know that representation matters. I know that stories matter. And so it is deeply selfish that I do this work.”
The coming year’s programming includes a celebration of playwright Sharon Bridgeforth, a dance festival, puppetry, and the annual Chicago Avenue Project which pairs theater professionals with youth to create new plays. Harriday says Pillsbury’s goal is to welcome a diverse range of people.
“I want there to be space for people to see the theater as an integral part of the fabric of our society,” she said. “The theater is one of the places and spaces where people who are different from each other, even if they are all Black, can come together and have a shared experience. I think that there are not a lot of spaces in our community where that can happen. And I think that interconnection that happens in those spaces, is dynamic, and is what makes healthy community.”
The season also includes the annual Naked Stages program, which stages three brand new solo performances. Harriday says the Twin Cities needs to nurture a diverse range of voices in the theater community.
“I see both beauty and concern inside of the landscape. I'm really excited by my fellow theater makers in this town. I'm very grateful to the ways in which I have been nurtured by this theater community. And I also am very concerned that we have lost important theater spaces in our town that helped to cultivate voices, particularly the voices of artists, of queer artists, of underrepresented and marginalized communities. And, and so I feel driven to try to be that space for as many of those voices and people as I can.”
You can find out more about Pillsbury House Theatre’s 2023 lineup on its website.