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Tuesday October 17th 2017

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In the Heart of the Beast Theatre Company Talks With Community About Its Future and “Home”

BY CORRIE ZOLL

Over the past winter, HOBT decided that it was time to start a conversation with our community about the future of our organization and our home in the Avalon Theater. We appreciate that The Alley is here to help us have that discussion.

The discussion is not new. The Avalon was a distressed building three decades ago when the community worked together to make the building into a home for HOBT.  Now the building is 30 years older, and needs a level of care and investment that HOBT has been unable to provide. As the building continues to age, an inability to meet its increasing needs could threaten the ongoing existence of the building, of the organization, or both.

Though the issue is serious, we do not consider it to be a crisis.  HOBT estimates that we have two to five years to work toward a long-term solution. We have time to make a decision that best serves the many communities that will be affected by it.  More than a year ago, the HOBT board began to explore various scenarios.  The possibilities were divided into two groups: “Stay” scenarios in which HOBT invests in continuing our time in the Avalon Theater, and “Go” scenarios in which we find another home.  We learned a lot over that time, and we have more to learn. Many scenarios are possible. The direction we take will affect our organization, our neighborhood, and our beloved Avalon Theater.

And so it is essential that the communities affected by the decision should be included in the decision-making process. Our community feedback process began in May, with an announcement as part of our MayDay Parade and Festival.  We held a community meeting to give updates and answer questions.  We launched an online survey inviting feedback on the importance of HOBT programming and whether that programming happens in the Avalon Theater and/or in the neighborhoods we currently serve.  And more is to come.

This will be a long process. In the coming weeks, you can expect us to share feedback from the survey and community meeting. In the coming months, we plan to decide on a general direction to move forward. By this time next year, we hope to be at work on a detailed plan. The implementation of a final plan could take place over multiple years. The communities we serve can and should expect more information about the process as it progresses, and anyone with questions or concerns should feel welcome to contact us.

Corrie Zoll, Executive Director

612-721-2535

czoll@hobt.org

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