Current News

Dear Wonderlust friends, partners, collaborators, colleagues, and audience:

As artists who create with communities, we believe in the power of people to work across difference to make the future better.

But, first, we need to see the present clearly.

The murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers is more than a tragedy; it is horrifying, unjust, and yet another in a long and pervasive history of this kind of brutality in our country and in our community.

Too many of us have looked away for too long as officers and other authorities with the power to destroy peoples’ lives have disproportionately targeted and hurt communities of color. Too many of us have sold our consciences for comfort, remaining ignorant and complacent because it has benefited us to do so. Too many of us have hoped that if we don’t know what is being done in the name of “public safety”, then we can’t be held responsible for it.

Wonderlust is committed to the principle that our shared responsibility for a healthy community calls us to work for justice for George Floyd, racial equity, and a better future for all of us.

While we believe that all stories are valuable, now is the time to listen to the stories here in our community that have been ignored, dismissed, disbelieved and silenced—sometimes violently silenced.

Wonderlust promises to follow the lead of the brilliant individuals and organizations that have been working for decades on these issues. We hope you’ll also follow the links and organizations that we have been turning to right now, listed below.

And we vow to continue to use our own resources to support and amplify the voices of those who have suffered the most from inequity, injustice, and systemic racism.

Sincerely,

Alan, Leah, Becky, Gabby, Megan, Zeb, Ariel, Kari, Oogie, and Adam
Wonderlust Productions

How to begin to help

Resources to Support Minneapolis Protests (a google doc filled with resources, updated regularly)
University Rebuild (an effort by wonderful theater folks to help rebuild BIPoC businesses)
George Floyd Memorial Fund

To learn

Anti-Racism Resources (another google doc intended to serve as an education resource for white people and parents to deepen anti-racism work)

To follow leaders already working on this

Black Lives Matter
Black Visions Collective
Reclaim the Block
Racial Justice Network
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Communities United Against Police Brutality
Showing Up for Racial Justice—Twin Cities

(read more…)

In mid-February, we began working with our cast of community members who have been affected by incarceration.

Former inmates and corrections officers, family members of people who are incarcerated, Department of Corrections staff, and restorative justice advocates were all getting to know each other and preparing to make a unique new play about the experiences and effects of the incarceration system in our world.

Then our world entered lockdown.

We asked our cast if they might share some of the lessons they have learned in their life about how to deal with isolation.

 

 

 

 

https://vimeo.com/418467760

In the midst of uncertainty, we’re heartened to see examples of small and large kindness among friends and strangers. We know a little bit about healthy communities; they’re created by people working together on a common goal.

During the Capitol Play Project, we met many smart, dedicated and media-shy civil servants who are working right now to keep us all healthy. Thank you.

WHAT WE’RE DOING
We’ll be postponing the Incarceration Play Project until December 2020.

The Good News is that we have all the elements of the show ready to go–amazing community and professional cast, confirmed location to perform, a script, and the necessary funds in the bank. So, while the show is on hold for now, the show will go on. We promise that these important stories will be told.

We’re also able to continue a lot of our other work–including with illustrator Becca Hart and others to illuminate community stories in new media. Our ensemble continues to be employed making video content and staying connected with our diverse community cast.

Check out our new video series of wisdom learned from our Incarceration community cast.

Also, stay tuned for an exciting announcement about a new series of short play commissions about what our future community looks like, and where and how they will be performed.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

“This is not a matter of not following the law, it is a greater matter of saving lives. In Minnesota, we do not have the death penalty, and no one should be subjected to death by incarceration with COVID-19.”
— Michele Livingston, BRIDGE family Network Advocate (and IPP community cast member).

Both people who are currently incarcerated and the people who work with them are trapped in a scary situation where COVID-19 can spread quickly. Please consider lending your voice to common sense measures that will help alleviate the dangers faced by inmates, their families, and Department of Corrections employees.

As an arts organization, we are also acutely aware of the financial challenges that have struck our friends who are freelance workers, independent contractors, and small business owners. If you are one of those people, you may find these resources helpful. If you are able to, you might consider helping artists in one or more of these ways.

Over the last five years, we’ve learned a lot from you about how to confront adversity (like the quote below from an Overachievers Web Series story circle).

Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we’ll be resharing some of this wisdom, perspective, story, and odd, fun distractions.

The stars of the Normandale Play Project

Deeqa is homesick. Cameron is heartsick. Deshun insists that he isn’t afraid, and Anna wants to prove that she has a brain. Can they conquer the witch they’ll face in the magical world inside Normandale? Based on true stories from members of the Normandale community, and told as an epic adventure with music, movement, and theatre magic – Look Again: The Normandale Play Project follows Deeqa and her friends on a challenging journey toward their future.

One weekend only! May 1-4 at 7:30 and May 4 at 2 pm. Tickets are $5-10.
Purchase tickets now.

All shows in the Premanand Fine Arts Theatre. (Enter at the west entrance, facing 98th Street. It’s labelled Fine and Performing Arts.) Call the Normandale box office at 952-358-8884 or visit their website for more information.

We have spent the last year on campus at Normandale Community College, sharing our community-driven process in order to create a new play about, by, and starring the community of Normandale at their 50th Anniversary. We hope you’ll join us for the culmination of this surprising journey because we’ve come to believe that these resilient, wildly diverse and resourceful students will be the ones who change our world for the better.

We’ve been working on edits for two more episodes. Here are some pictures:

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We’re making a play about Minnesota’s incarceration system.

If you have been incarcerated, impacted by incarceration, or worked in any way around incarceration, you are invited to audition to be in the play.

No theater experience required. Auditions are easy, sign up below!

Formerly incarcerated? Family or loved ones incarcerated? Worked for DOC? Volunteered in a facility? Work in advocacy, support, or activism around incarceration or re-entry? All are welcome. 

The play is based on stories we’ve gathered from people like you but is entirely fictional, theatrical, and epic. Anyone who has been affected by incarceration is invited to be an actor with us. This is an opportunity to be part of a creative team, shining light on the very complex realities of incarceration and the people in and affected by it. We value your creativity and experience, and hope you’ll help us make this a truthful, inspiring, and educational show.

Schedule: We will assign you a role and schedule based on your availability, but to be in the show, you’ll need to be available for some creative workshops in February and March (about one night per week), rehearsals in April and May (about 2-4 nights per week), and performances on weekends, May 29 – June 14. We may also perform a weeknight or two the first week of June in some prisons. 

“It was not my idea to audition for Wonderlust’s production. A friend of mine wanted to audition & didn’t want to go alone. But I’m so glad that I went outside my comfort zone to give it a try. Thankfully, Wonderlust is the perfect environment for a first time actor. . . Finding my character’s voice in turn helped me find my own voice in many ways. If you are considering it at all, I say — Go for it!”     — Participant, Adoption Play Project, 2016.

Need a fun gift that also benefits a great Wonderlust project? We have three gorgeous full-color 11×17 posters from our upcoming graphic novel available just in time for the holidays! This graphic novel, beautifully illustrated by Becca Hart, is an adaption of our well-received 2016 play In My Heart: The Adoption Play Project. Posters are $15 each. Profits go to helping us complete this novel and be able to share it with a national audience next year. If interested in purchasing, please email info@wlproductions.org.

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Thanks to all our supporters, partners, and fans who came out on one of the coldest nights to celebrate the launch of the Adoption Play Graphic Novel project! We enjoyed providing attendees a sneak peek of the artwork created and explained by illustrator Becca Hart and having some of the original cast members read a scene from the 2016 In My Heart: Adoption Play Project. The publication of this original graphic novel is due out in the spring of 2021. More details to come!

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Enjoy a happy-hour nosh in Red Stag’s Club Room, visit with friends in the adoption community, meet the artist Becca Hart and see full-color, poster-size prints from this upcoming graphic adaptation of the original theatrical production of In My Heart: The Adoption Play Project. Hear about plans to distribute this story to more people who will benefit from it.

Actors from the original production will perform a scene from this well-received play for your delight and to remind us why it was so powerful. Performance will begin at approx. 6:15 p.m.

Complimentary appetizers will be provided alongside a cash bar.

Date and Time: Monday, November 11th from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Red Stag Supperclub, 509 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413

This is a free event!  Please RSVP by Friday, Nov 8.

Questions: 612-423-6335, info@wlproductions.org

We would like to thank Red Stag Supperclub for being our co-host and event sponsor for this special evening.

We were excited and honored to have two first-draft staged readings and discussions this September graciously hosted by Hamline University’s Department of Theatre and Dance at the Anne Simley Theatre and by Macalester College’s Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship at the Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel. Thank you to everyone who attended these readings and contributed to a very informative post-show discussion.

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INCARCERATION PLAY PROJECT
First draft reading and discussion

Be a part of the first audience to discover how we’re translating the stories
we’ve heard into a thought-provoking new play. Stay afterward to share your thoughts.

Wonderlust Productions is creating a new play based on the stories of people in and affected by Minnesota’s incarceration system. Please join us for a staged reading* of the first draft of this new play, to be read by a mixed cast of both professional actors and incarceration community members. There will be a short discussion after the performance as we seek community feedback on the work in progress.

Admission is pay-what-you-can (suggested donation of $10)
Reservations are recommended. 

Friday September 27th, 7:30 p.m.
Hosted by Hamline University Department of Theatre and Dance
Anne Simley Theatre, 1530 W Taylor Ave, St Paul
Reservations here

Sunday September 29th, 4:00 p.m.
Hosted by Macalester College Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship
Presented at Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel, St. Paul
Reservations here

*What is a “staged reading”? A staged reading is an efficient way to share a draft of a play before it is finalized. Performers will be holding scripts in their hands. The technical elements of a full production, like lights and costumes as well as some of the movement, are read out loud rather than completely built in front of you. 

But, why isn’t this a full production? At every step in the process of building a play from the hundreds of stories that members of the Incarceration community shared with us, we want to check in with you. What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Where were you engaged and enlightened and surprised? Where did you feel suspense? Where were you moved? Are we being truthful and accurate? A staged reading is an excellent way to share an entertaining experience with an audience at a phase in the creative process where changes can still be made. The full production will take place in May 2020 at a venue to be determined.

Do I have to be in the Incarceration Community to attend? No. Everyone is welcome at this reading.

Do I have to participate in the discussion afterwards? Of course not. Simply by being in the audience you’re helping us understand how the story works in public. If you only want to watch then leave, please feel welcome. But you are also welcome to stay for the discussion and tell us more.

What if I want to be a performer in the production? We will be seeking people who are in the incarceration community (including people who have been incarcerated or have loved ones who have been incarcerated and anyone who has worked in any capacity in the incarceration system, whether facility staff, administrative, educational, volunteer, advocacy, activism, legal, etc.) Email us, and we’ll send you more information about additional auditions for the full production. (You do not need to be in this reading to participate as a performer in the final production.)

Contact us if you have questions at info@wlproductions.org or 651-393-5104.

Eden Prairie Schools invited us to collaborate with students, faculty and staff to make and perform a play about Eden Prairie Schools at the district-wide kickoff event. Company members Adam and Megan had awesome co-stars in these amazing students.

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