Return of the Red Eye

The iconic black box theater gets its new set-up… set up ahead of the essential New Works 4 Weeks Festival.

For almost 35 years, the Red Eye Theater—under the watch of Artistic Directors Steve Busa and Miriam Must—provided a home for new performance, the kind of important experimentation and collaboration in performance, dance and theater that didn’t fit neatly into other genre venues in Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

The last few years, however, have delivered major changes to the theater—and not just because of the pandemic. The original building that housed their black box theater was sold and torn down, Busa and Must retired, and a new collection of seven Artistic Directors found a new space for the future of the Red Eye and its interdisciplinary approach to performance at the Focus Arts building in Seward.

“Right now I am excited about the potential for collaboration to lead us towards something that we never could have imagined or expected on our own,” says Emily Gastineau, one of the Artistic Directors and the artist behind the first performances in the new space, Generic Minneapolis and Generic Specific. “[The growth] is happening on many levels—between the Co-Artistic Directors and within the various artistic projects happening at Red Eye. Now that our venue is open, we are excited to deepen and form new collaborations with people in the neighborhood and across the arts community.”

With all the transition, however, the theater’s mission hasn’t changed and is as essential as ever. Red Eye provides crucial in-depth developmental opportunities, incubating the next generation of creators and making space for artists to reexamine the creative process in a new light—a process rooted in the core tenets of experimentation, collaboration, critical discourse, and more. 

What does that all look like? For one, the new space is more open and intentionally flexible than the previous Nicollet location. It’s also an exciting location for Red Eye’s annual New Works 4 Weeks Festival, a cornerstone of the Twin Cities performance landscape that continues the Works-in-Progress series launched in 1983. The four-week program acts as an incubator that culminates in a showcase of the freshest experiments from Minnesota’s most risk-taking performing artists, and the slightly newer Isolated Acts series. 

“Sound and music are really strongly represented across the cohort this year, in addition to artists who circulate in the dance and theater communities—although as a group they are working in truly inter/anti/transdisciplinary ways.” says Gastineau. For this year’s festival, the artistic cohort includes interdisciplinary artists who work with sound, language, movement, objects, and media. And, along with their collaborators, they will share original works that explore ritual, chance, dissociation, ancestral memory, communal loss, and more.

“Each of the 11 artists is a powerhouse in their own right,” she says, “and together they are a wave of some of the most risk-taking and thoughtful performance work being made in the Twin Cities right now.”

When you go:

May 26-28: Works-in-Progress

with Christian Bardin | Maddie Granlund | Atlese Robinson | J H Shuǐ Xiān | Anat Spiegel

June 2-4: Lelis K. Brito | Ricardo Beaird 

June 9-11: A.P. Looze | José A. Luis

June 16-18: Kate Sutton-Johnson | Ritika Ganguly

Red Eye Theater, 2213 Snelling Ave, Minneapolis 

When you go: Single tickets: $20

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