The Phoenix Theater is getting transformed into a house of Halloween delights this week for Flights of Fright, a festival with haunted tours, a cabaret of ghoulish wonder, spine tingling games, and a different theme each night.
“The idea was to create a social space that people come to with their friends,” says Jenna Papke, who heads up Arts Nest, the organization that runs the Phoenix. They’re trying to celebrate the atmosphere of the season. “Halloween in its classic form is the last hurrah before winter. We wanted to capture a sense of celebration and 'goodbye' to summer.”
The four-day festival will include a haunted tour of the theater’s basement, designed by Catherine Hansen and Mitchell Frasier. “It’s a really intimate little piece,” Papke says. People will be brought down in pairs, and experience four different stops where scary things are happening. “It’s very personalized,” she says.
Upstairs, the theater will feature performances, curated by Paul von Stoezel. On Wednesday night, come for the Comedy of Horror, featuring standup comedians, a commedia group, and the Yeah No Sketch Show's Brant & Sally’s 1st Road Trip from the 2014 Fringe Festival.
Thursday's theme, Dance Macabre, includes Halloween dance performances. “That’s the most family-friendly night,” Papke says, noting teens as young as 14 would enjoy the show.
On Friday, there will be storytelling, with phillip andrew bennett low, Rob Callahan, Marcus Anthony and Tim Uren sharing their work. Saturday rounds out the festival with excerpts from different plays and some returning acts from earlier in the week. Plus, Friday and Saturday nights will end in a dance party onstage beginning at 10 p.m.
Audiences will also be able to wander in and out of the theater for excursions into the basement as well as the social space in the lobby, where there’ll be games and a chance to catch up with friends.
Frights of Flight marks nearly a year since the Phoenix Theater opened for business (they officially began on November 1 of last year). Since then, Papke says the theater has stayed busy, and has gotten lots of good feedback from both artists and audience members. “It’s been a blast,” she says. Coming up later in November, the theater will house Shadow Horse Productions, who are putting on a Clive Barker play, followed by an alternative holiday festival called Up Your Chimney.
IF YOU GO:
Through October 28-31
2605 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis
Evenings begin at 7:30 p.m.