20% Theatre Company Announces 15th Season and Plans to Sunset

Today as we announce our exciting 15th season of programming, we are also announcing that this season will be our finale, and that 20% Theatre Company will sunset (close permanently) in late 2021.

While 20% Theatre Company is not in a financial or leadership crisis, like a number of beloved arts organizations before us and along with us, we are facing a difficult reality that financial resources are simply not available for us to sustain our organization’s work beyond this season. As a lean organization with a small staff, we’ve cut all possible expenses. We are making the decision to gracefully sunset the organization rather than take on any debt. While sunsetting is emotional and difficult, we are making the decision based on our values, including equitably paying and supporting artists — which would not be viable if we were to continue operating.

The board and staff came to this difficult realization and decision late in 2019 and intended to share the news earlier in 2020. So many things shifted with this pandemic, and we felt it wise to postpone our sunset announcement until we had a better grasp on how Covid-19 would further affect our final season of programming.

We understand that this news will be heartbreaking to our community. The board and staff explored many options, and decided that being intentional about sunsetting 20% Theatre Company would give us the opportunity to celebrate the organization's legacy with one final season.

Thank you for believing in 20% Theatre Company and for empowering our work. Since 2006, we have been committed to highlighting underrepresented voices and identities in theatre, producing ground-breaking queer theatre, supporting the work of female and transgender/non-binary theatre artists, and celebrating the unique contributions of these artists to social change and human rights.

You have made this work possible as artists, supporters, and audience members. 20% Theatre Company is forever grateful to you for many years of inspiration by and for our incredible community.

This work will live on!

Queer arts deserves space and support in our community and we are empowered by the amazing art by queer artists in the Twin Cities. Our board and staff are committed to supporting local queer arts organizations into the future, and will continue to advise other local arts groups and organizations to employ the artists with whom 20% Theatre has worked over the years.

  • The Q-STAGE: New Works Series will live on care of Lightning Rod. 20% Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Marcela Michelle, the current 2020-2021 curator of Q-STAGE, also serves as Director of Programming for Lightning Rod. She and the Lightning Rod team will ensure that Q-STAGE continues on as a vital performance incubator project for local queer and trans artists.
  • Past NAKED I production scripts will remain available for purchase through the 15th season locally through 20% Theatre Company, and in perpetuity from amazon.com. To purchase any of the scripts, please email info@tctwentypercent.org.
  • We will eventually give 15 years of archived materials to the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota, which is the largest LGBTQ-specific archival repository in the upper Midwest, and our work — including photographs, scripts, playbills, media coverage, and more — will be available there for the public to view.

Celebration and reflection!

We invite you to celebrate 15 years with us over the course of our final season!

We are extremely proud of the community we have built since 2006! We have accomplished so much, and we are no longer the only company providing artistic opportunities for queer and trans artists in the Twin Cities. Far from it, in fact. Back in 2008, when we first produced a play with transgender content, it was ground-breaking. People packed the houses, and took buses from nearby states to come see what we were doing because no one else was doing it, especially not in the Midwest!

Over the past 15 years, we have produced more than 55 plays and events, including world and regional premieres, sold-out performances, festivals, and productions that have gone on to tour locally and nationally. We have provided artistic opportunities to more than 1,000 LGBTQ and allied theatre artists — paying each and every one of those artists — and our work has performed to more than 20,000 patrons across Minnesota and the US. We have connected artists that may not have otherwise met, brought ground-breaking theatre to diverse audiences, and encouraged dialogue between artists and audiences with post-show discussion opportunities and workshops. We promoted acceptance and understanding with every performance, every workshop and every rehearsal.

Now, numerous companies, arts organizations and projects for trans artists exist, and it is wonderful. We know we played a role in that. We know we are important and have mattered to so many people over the years, and it is time for us to make space for the next generation of artists and performance makers. We are sunsetting with grace. We are proud.

We will offer opportunities for our community to celebrate and grieve with us over the next year, and have discussions around the sunsetting of the organization and what it means for the future of this work. Prior to Covid-19, we were planning some public town halls, which are not currently feasible at this time. We will continue to brainstorm ways to allow connection and conversation with our community throughout the 15th season.

Help us keep the legacy of 20% Theatre Company alive! 

Share your memories with us. It’s up to every one of us to keep the legacy of 20% Theatre Company living and breathing in the world. Start sharing your memories on social media by tagging @20percenttheatretc or using the hashtag #20percenttheatrecompany. Be sure to make your posts public! Staff will do everything they can to harvest, share, and archive these memories. You can also email us at info@tctwentypercent.org.

To help us cross the finish line with the greatest impact, we need to raise $20,000 before we sunset. Making a final gift to 20% Theatre Company means investing in the artists of our 15th season. Our remaining expenses will still be critical to ensure we have the resources to meet our final commitments. If we raise more than we need, we will be able to re-grant remaining funds to Lightning Rod to continue producing Q-STAGE: New Works Series into the future. Please donate to support our final season!

Please connect with us if you have any questions about this announcement at info@tctwentypercent.org.

For more information, read our Sunset FAQs.