Category Archives: Concerts

Our Access program is about more than just tickets

Sarah Paquin, Education and Community Engagement Coordinator, shares her thoughts about Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Access program.

I have the honor of working with over 60 local organizations who tirelessly serve our surrounding communities every day. Through the Access Program, the Hennepin Theatre Trust distributes tickets free of charge, helping make arts accessible to local underserved communities. I am honored to play a small role in the distribution of 11,215 free tickets this year to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. Though, as you might guess, the Access Program is about more than just tickets.

Walking in to this program for the first time earlier this year, I didn’t know what to expect. I was amazed at the amount of enthusiasm it brings, and impressed to see how hard the underserved organizations that we work with fight for the enrichment of their communities. These organizations are not ticket-focused, but self-betterment-focused. And the difference is obvious in how they function and serve their clientele.

It has been a joy to discover the impact that the Trust can have by opening doors to these organizations. One organization we work with is called Project SUCCESS. Not only do they take advantage of what we can offer, but take it a step further and create curriculum around these shows to bring into the classroom of local low-income schools. That way, the kids are able to experience an amazing production on stage, but also apply it offstage and take ownership of the arts community they’re surrounded by. It’s through organizations like this that we can make arts accessible to people who don’t see it as such. It’s passion like this that inspires the confidence to take part in something bigger than their current situation. Art belongs to the world, and anyone, regardless of barriers, should be able to access it.

Another organization we work with is the Sabes Jewish Community Center. This organization serves Russian immigrants (among others), many of which don’t speak English. But the power of theatre knows no bounds. One member expressed, “Such outings to performances help fight my depression and loneliness.”  Many people with challenging circumstances feel isolated from society.  But art is the great leveler.  You experience, feel, and relate along with other patrons, the actors, and the story itself. You participate in a shared experience. What a unique and effective way to bridge people together.

This year we almost doubled our distribution to these community and educational organizations due to generous donations from you, the patrons, the shows, and musicians we have come to town. It’s something that many of us want to be involved in: awakening communities through theatre. A friend of mine always says, “Life is art. If you fail to express yourself, you fail to live.” We all understand self-expression at our core.  And I think it’s a powerful and available tool for the betterment of so many lives.

Stories like these occur with each ticket offer we’re able to distribute. Thank you for partnering with us in our mission to develop arts-inspired community. The reach is farther than we can see, and the impact is life-long.

You can make more stories come to life by donating your unused tickets (which are 100% deductible for the full face value of the tickets) or by making a cash donation. For more information on our Access program, contact Sarah Paquin at 612.455.9529 or visit our website.

Acoustic Century: Local songwriters and their stories – debuts next week!

“There’s a lion that sits on my bed / Lord knows he’s never been fed”

Gabriel Douglas, the once heavily-bearded front man of local supergroup The 4onthefloor, bellows this lyric in the band’s recent single “Lionhearted.” Before Douglas had his beard publicly removed this summer, you might have mistaken him for a lion. But if you want to know the true meaning behind his lyrics (and why he shaved his epic beard), you’ll have to come hear it for yourself at Acoustic Century!

We invite you to join us on Thursday, August 2 at 8:00pm, when we debut Acoustic Century, a new series of local acoustic music mixed with artist conversations. Acoustic Century will give local performers a platform to share their music and the stories behind it and give audiences a chance to get a deeper look into the local music scene.

The inaugural event on Thursday will feature Gabriel Douglas of the roots rock quartet The 4onthefloor and Danny O’Brien from the indie band The Farewell Circuit. The duo will share the stories behind their tracks, answer audience questions and perform separately on stage. Topics covered will focus on the aspects of the songwriting process, what it’s like to be a part of the local music scene in the Twin Cities, life on the road and the dichotomy between playing in a group versus having a solo career.

Since opening its doors in September 2011, the New Century Theatre has hosted a variety of plays and theatrical events, but this is the first venture into live music at the new downtown venue. The small, intimate space will provide the perfect setting for acoustic concerts like this and will allow every member of the audience to feel connected with the performers on stage.

So join us on August 2 as we take you behind the music and into the minds of some of Minnesota’s top musicians! Tickets here.

Watch Gabriel Douglas and Danny O’ Brien perform an acoustic version of “Lionhearted” live at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

About Gabriel and Danny:

Gabriel Douglas has performed both as a solo performer and as lead singer and drummer for The 4onthefloor. He has shared the stage with such musical luminaries as Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson and his group released their debut album, “4×4,” in April 2011. “[Douglas] effortlessly toggles between a whiskey-fueled, gravelly drawl and a stimulating, larynx shredding bellow,” wrote Mark Suppanz from the music magazine The Big Takeover.

Danny O’Brien crafts indie pop tunes both as a solo artist and lead singer, guitarist and pianist for The Farewell Circuit. The group released their debut album, “In Our Bones,” in November 2011. “In an era where pervasive poverty, war, revolution and uncertainty exist, The Farewell Circuit offers optimism and belief in humanity,” says the Dadada Music Blog.