Thursday, June 26, 2008

Theatre de la Jeune Lune to Close

I know this news came out a few days ago, but I just noticed some interesting information on this on the listserve. I'm posting it here because I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Theatre de la Jeune Lune to shut down and sell its building
Thank you for thirty great years!

A Statement from the former five Artistic Directors

We would like to thank so many people individually and will do so, but for now we are thanking the community. We could never have accomplished so much without you and we thank you for your support and friendship for so many years.

Barbra Berlovitz
Steve Epp
Vincent Gracieux
Robert Rosen
Dominique Serrand

A Statement from the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the Twin Cites-based Theatre de la Jeune Lune voted this week to list the theatre's headquarters for sale and to shut down the arts group as currently organized. Included in the decision is a planned significant reduction in artistic and administrative staff, effective July 31, 2008.

We have reached these decisions with great regret; however, our fiduciary responsibilities to our artists, our staff, our donors and our creditors dictate this action. We are listing the building for sale in order to fully satisfy our creditors. The Board is committed to an orderly shutdown, including satisfying all existing rental obligations through September 30, 2008.

It is the intent of the board to explore strategies to enable the creation of art in the future. A commercial broker for the sale has not been selected. The Board of Directors will establish a committee to manage the sale at its regular board meeting of June 25, 2008.

Bruce Neary
Board President

A Statement from the Artistic Director

In 1978 Barbra Berlovitz, Vincent Gracieux, and Dominique Serrand began an adventure called Theatre de la Jeune Lune. They were soon joined by Robert Rosen and eventually Steve Epp and innumerable other collaborators. Over the past 30 years we have created nearly 100 productions, performed for hundreds of thousands of people in cities across the United States and in France, but primarily and most importantly in Minneapolis. For the first 14 years we were itinerant, making the most of any venue we found ourselves in. Then in 1992, with an amazing groundswell of support, we purchased and renovated the Allied Van Lines building in the Minneapolis warehouse district. We excavated the interior of this historic building to create a stunningly innovative and award winning performance space, opening our new artistic home to
the public on November 18th of that year.

Sixteen years later we are faced with an excruciating decision. With the organization burdened by mounting and unmanageable debt, the Board of Directors has voted to put Jeune Lune's home up for sale. After much soul searching and extensive fundraising and debt management efforts, we have determined it to be the only prudent and fiscally responsible choice. What has been acclaimed, as one of the most striking and unique theatre spaces in the country will go dark. It is a huge loss, a loss for us, for all of the artists who work with us, for our audience and for the community at large, both locally and nationally.

And with the building, we have decided that the time has come to bid adieu to the theatre ensemble we have all known as Jeune Lune.

We have always believed that the making of theatre is an important andessential act. We have always believed in the power of theatre to provoke, inspire, and excite. We have always created our work for and because of our audience. Over the years we have cultivated a loyal audience locally, regionally and nationally. We have garnered numerous awards and accolades, and of course at times we have elicited criticism and consternation. We have benefited enormously from the support of foundations, corporations, state and national organizations, all those who have served as board members, staff and volunteers, the incredible generosity of thousands of individuals, and especially all of the artists. Without all of you we would never have survived this long or created as much. We can never thank you enough.
It has been an amazing thirty years. Few theatre companies last as long. We never sought nor desired to be an institution. Our home was always intended to be a playground in which we could gather with other adventurous souls and create the unimaginable. A place in which to grow, change and evolve. The theatrical experience is an event truly of the moment -- immediate, fleeting and ephemeral. Yet in the space of that moment something takes place that is transformative to the human spirit and remains indelible in our memory -- the stuff that dreams are made of, the stuff we carry with us forever. We hope you will treasure well the memory of Jeune Lune.

But, as this story ends, a new one begins. We live to create. To do what we know best, what the artist's responsibility in society has always been -- to invent, to dream, to imagine.

Starting today, we begin imagining a new way of working. What should a theatre-generating organization of the 21st Century look like? How can artists create truly groundbreaking art in a fast changing world? Times have changed and so have we. Building upon our artistic legacy, and
facing a different future, we are exploring ways to reinvent an agile, nomadic, entrepreneurial theatre with a new name. One that can embrace the concentric circles of artists we have worked with over the years. Together we will create essential and innovative theatre for today's changing audience. It's an exciting new journey and we hope you'll join us with your support, with your presence, with your belief. Fear not: the art is alive and coming soon to a theatre near you. Keep in touch.

Dominique Serrand
Artistic Director

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