Should we stay or should we go?


Here is a message from the board and staff of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre:
“Our beloved Avalon has been home to HOBT for 28 years. During that time, this building has functioned as a performance space, a puppet building workshop, a banquet hall, an office suite, a wedding chapel, a disco, a community gathering space, a classroom, a kitchen, a conference center, a landmark, an artist studio, an art gallery, a movie theater, a warehouse, a music venue and a museum. When our community has expressed a need, the Avalon has done its best to serve.
“At the same time, the Avalon currently has poor air quality, marginal physical accessibility, outdated infrastructure, and inefficient heating and cooling systems.  We don’t have enough office space, classroom space, workshop space or storage space. Our lights, sound and seating are far out of date, and the system of hanging theater lights is cumbersome and quite unsafe.
“Our presence in this space has meant so many things to so many people over nearly 30 years.  We also have a responsibility to provide safe, accessible, adequate space for the work we do. How do we balance these needs and make the best choice for HOBT and our community?
“WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR, we will need to make a choice where to put our energy: Should we deepen our investment in the Avalon, or will we better serve our mission and our stakeholders if we find a new space? This will be a difficult decision to make, and we want your input. We would like to invite you to participate in a discussion of the future of HOBT’s home in the Avalon Theater. Please complete the online survey at  It should take you about 10 minutes to complete.”
In addition to the survey, or instead, if online surveys are not your thing, the leadership team at In the Heart of the Beast is open to all ideas and input from the community. You can write them  an old-fashioned tree-based note, you can leave a voice mail at 612-721-2535, or you can use a contact form on the website, A community meeting, attended by at least 50 interested people, was held at the Avalon on May 17, and there will probably be more opportunities to meet and discuss, debate and volunteer on this important issue in the coming year.
Meanwhile, programming continues as ever, better than ever. Starting June 4 at 10 a.m., take your young children to enjoy free Saturday Matinee Puppet Shows at Calhoun Square, followed by a make-and-take workshop. These continue every Saturday in June and July. Puppet Labs, the cutting edge program for emerging artists, is returning in 2017. And winter program planning is underway now for the holiday show and other shows. Keep an eye on HOBT’s website for all developments.

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