The Next Generation at Penumbra Theatre

Penumbra’s ALOUD Festival showcases the work of remarkably talented students.

Photo by Ann Marsden

Penumbra Theatre’s three-day ALOUD youth performance festival offers audiences a look at several up-and-coming theater artists in the Twin Cities, as well as a window on how these youngsters view their world.

“The mission of Penumbra’s Summer Institute is to train youth to promote social justice and equality, to turn the participants from critical consumers of art into activist artists,” says associate Penumbra artistic director Sarah Bellamy.

Fifty-four middle schools and high schools are represented in the three-year program, some from the urban center, many from the suburbs. “Some [kids] have demonstrated leadership in their schools. Others are experienced artists with credits like Children’s Theatre Company. They cross-teach each other,” Bellamy says.

Artistic director Lou Bellamy guides this year’s nine third-year students, who will each lead a project. After spending 120 hours working with an advocacy organization—such as OutFront Minnesota, The Emily Program Foundation, or The Advocates for Human Rights—the students will create performances reflecting that work.

With three different students presenting each of the three nights, the performances will include, among other things, a staged reading of a new play, a one-woman show, and a dance piece. Aug. 15–17. Penumbra Theatre, 270 Kent St., St. Paul, 651-224-3180, —W. R. B.