40th Anniversary Season

Forty years ago a group of artists dared to dream of a place where their voices could be heard, where their stories could be shared, where their culture would be respected, where the truth would be told. They imagined a place where the African American experience would be recognized, validated, and valued. A place where their parents could come, see them perform, and be proud. A place where the caliber of the art would reflect the depth of their culture. With little more than their courage to urge them on, Lou Bellamy and the founding company produced Penumbra’s first full season. We have consistently produced plays every year since for four decades.

In that time we have premiered 34 shows by black artists, bringing fresh voices to the Twin Cities and to American theatre. We have hired, nurtured, and developed more artists of color than any other theatre company in the Twin Cities. We have pressed our audiences to confront difficult issues and led them with compassion toward transformational dialogue and actionable outcomes. We have raised our voices in shining harmony to joyfully lift the human spirit. We have trained generations of teenagers in our practice of art for social change. We have celebrated the weddings, births, and home-goings of our artistic family. We have kept the light burning.

We did more than build a theatre, we made a home. And we’re not done—forty years is just the beginning.

We welcome you into a brave, bright future for Penumbra. We invite you into our home to stand with us to recognize difficult truths, to celebrate monumental wins, to boldly face history, to stare down the injustices of the present, and to stand for equity wherever it is needed. Penumbra offers a unique opportunity to witness the power of art unleashed toward justice: a righteous, focused, and unyielding commitment to lifting us all toward the light of hope and change.

Sarah Bellamy and Lou Bellamy
Co-Artistic Directors