“Garage Theater” Thrives in Minneapolis

| 9/23/2008 11:14:53 AM

theater seatsFor nearly ten years, Jennifer Ilse and Paul Herwig have been staging productions in their own backyard—literally. The Off-Leash Area Contemporary Performance Works is headquartered in the couple’s garage, which they converted into a 38-seat theater.

But there’s nothing amateurish about the company’s production values, and with more than a dozen original productions to their name featuring luminaries of the Twin Cities theater scene, Ilse and Herwig are garnering acclaim for their performances and set designs.

The garage shows are still intimate, informal affairs: “While we have the full support of our neighbors, to minimize neighborhood disturbance, attendance to events at Our Garage is by reservation only,” the Off-Leash Area website reads. “After each performance the audience is invited to Our Backyard to visit with their fellow patrons and the artists for an evening by the fire pit and for refreshments.”

I suppose it’s this sort of ingenuity that has allowed the Twin Cities to boast more theater seats per capita than any American city outside New York.

The Jury opens next month in the Off-Leash garage; check the website for showtimes.

Image by dmealiffe, licensed by Creative Commons.

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