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Nimbus in Northeast to close; theater promises to rise again

<i>The Storms of November </i>will be the last show at Nimbus' current location.

The Storms of November will be the last show at Nimbus' current location.

When The Storms of November closes at Nimbus Theater Sunday, it will mark the end of a chapter in the innovative company’s existence.

Citing a rent increase beyond their means, co-founders Josh Cragun and Liz Neerland have announced that the space at 1517 Central Avenue Northeast, the company’s home since 2011, will close its doors.

Nimbus hopes to announce a new location early next month. “We plan to be operational in early spring,” Cragun says. “We are still deciding if we want to be the first show, or will grant that honor to someone else to buy us more time on building the new space.”

While Nimbus has produced a trio of shows each year on average, its location has been in employed much more. “It has been used for an average of 37 weeks a year, not including the Minnesota Fringe Festival. There has generally been more demand for the space than we could accommodate, which is something we are taking into account in planning our new space,” Cragun says.

The theater quickly became important to the numerous small companies in the area who do not have a permanent space. It also marks the latest in a dire trend of independent spaces disappearing. Cragun and Neerland plan this to be more of a pause in programming rather than a permanent shuttering of doors.

“When we built the theater at 1517 Central, we built the space we wanted as a company," Cragun says. "But what we found is that we became a resource for the community, and this is something we would like to build on. We've been planning the next phase of the company, something that has been code-named 'nimbus 3.0’ for the past year. We are still working on some of the details, but I can tell you that a lot of it has to do with understanding how the venue can better serve our patrons and the independent theater community.” 

The permanent space also saw plenty of growth within Nimbus, as several of the best shows in recent years have been produced there, like The Cripple of Inishmaan and Ghost Sonata.

“We've learned a lot over the last five years. We've grown as a company, and we've found our center in terms of the work we produce,” Cragun says. “We've also found a lot of people like us, who are doing similar things, and we've been lucky to be a part of that. Having the theater has also allowed us to produce more fully realized work, and take some chances we just couldn't have in other venues. I don't think we could have done that scene change in Ghost Sonata anywhere else."

For information on Nimbus and its future, visit online.