Bedlam Theatre forced to vacate by September 7

A busy Bomp! dance night at the Bedlam this past January
A busy Bomp! dance night at the Bedlam this past January
Photo by Denis Jeong Plaster

The Bedlam Theatre, a much-loved West Bank hotbed of experimental theater and DIY music, has been asked to vacate its property by September 7 to accommodate a neighboring mosque in need of a new home.

The Star Tribune is reporting that the company that owns the Bedlam's property, Fine Associates, is ending its month-to-month lease with the Bedlam to make way for the Darul Quba mosque, whose building is being demolished by its own landlords, Sherman Associates, to make room for a parking lot. It's a shuffle that the Strib attributes to "longstanding property politics on Minneapolis' West Bank."

The Bedlam has been located on the West Bank for four years (and was on Cedar Ave S. for 11 years prior to that), and has fostered a growing community of musicians, theater troupes, and activists in the eclectic space. The monthly dance night Bomp! has become especially popular lately, as have a growing collection of DIY and experimental music nights. The space will still be a central gathering spot for the Minnesota Fringe Festival, which kicks off August 5, but come September the organization will be forced to vacate and begin the search for a new home base.

Co-artistic director John Bueche says that process of relocation could take up to three years. Still, he remains optimistic.

"It's going to be a six-week party from here on out," Bueche told the Strib. "And then we're on to bigger and better things."

A full schedule of upcoming events is posted on the Bedlam's site.

UPDATE: For our follow-up interview with John Bueche, click here; and for more info on the future of Bomp!, click here.

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