Nimbus Theatre previews permanent space

Josh Cragun and Liz Neerland describe the plans for Nimbus Theatre's new space.

Josh Cragun and Liz Neerland describe the plans for Nimbus Theatre's new space.

In a chilly, wide-open warehouse space in Minneapolis, Nimbus Theatre Company's Josh Cragun sees nothing but potential.

Where there currently is bare brick, bright overhead lighting, and nary a wall, will transform, over the next year, into a full theater. This prospect is very exciting for the 10-year-old company, says Cragun, one of the company's co-artistic directors.

[jump] After thriving as a vagabond company for the last decade, Nimbus has begun work on a permanent space at 1517 Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. At present, it's pretty rough, but the theater plans to have enough work done by February to open their production of Jean Genet's The Balcony at their new home.

"After 10 years, it was time," says Co-Artistic Director Liz Neerland. "We looked at our expenses and saw a majority of it was going for rental of our rehearsal space and of the theaters."

The plan is to build up the theater over several phases. For the first production only the roughest of aspects will be done--risers for the seats; some division between the house, the lobby, and the backstage area; and the addition of features needed to bring the space up to code as a theater (such as fire exits).

The raw look fits perfectly with Genet's play, Cragun notes, and should help to give the piece a sense of existing beyond the normal borders of the world. (The story follows a revolution and counter-revolution in a nameless city.)

The group looked at spaces for about a year and a half before finding their new home. Now, having their own space allows Nimbus to build the theater to their own needs. The former warehouse offers the basics of what they require: A wide open space to reconfigure, and a high and strong ceiling that should be perfect for hanging lights.

Beyond having their own space, the new theater provides a new dedicated theater space for the northeast, which has developed a strong reputation as an artists' haven in the last few years, Cragun says.