10,000 Things Season Opener: The Merchant of Venice

Ten Thousand Things is a local theater company that performs at homeless shelters, senior centers, prisons and basically anywhere where you wouldn’t expect a talented theater group to perform. Most of their shows are at non-theater venues and most of their shows are free.

They explain it better than I in their mission:

Ten Thousand Things brings lively, intelligent theater to people with little access to the wealth of the arts — who in turn help us to reimagine theater.

Performing at homeless shelters, prisons and other low-income centers, using the region’s finest actors, this bare bones, high quality theater company invigorates ancient tales, classic stories and contemporary plays through its search for raw, open interactions between actors and audiences.

Minneapolis is blessed with an awesome theater community and many excellent companies. You can rank TTT right at the top. There is a rumor (which I believe) that actors have turned down higher-paying Guthrie work to be part of a TTT production.

Mary and I discovered them in 2001 when they performed The Most Happy Fella by Frank Loesser, a musical that we’d never heard of but sounded interesting. Plus they were getting excellent reviews.

Since then, we haven’t missed a performance.

According to their history page, the company has been around since 1991. They started out in Los Angeles and it looks like they moved to the Twin Cities around 1995. (The production history only goes thru 2002 but TTT has performed regularly in all subsequent years with a full schedule this year.)

The Merchant of Venice runs from Oct. 19 until Nov. 19 with paid public performances the weekends of Nov. 3, 10, and 17. Tickets are $20. There are free public performances starting Oct. 23. The paid performances are showcases for the theater public, held at a comfortable location like the Open Book on Washington Ave. The free performances are at shelters and community centers. Check their schedule here.

Besides Merchant, TTT will perform Lorca’s Blood Wedding in March and The Little Shop of Horrors by Harold Ashman, in May.

If you do go to a performance, let me know or tell them that pfhyper.com sent you when you reserve. And remember, they are supported by our funds so if you go and you like it, donate!

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