Welcome to our new Executive Director!

August 11, 2015

Dear HOBT friends and supporters,

corriezoll_smallOn behalf of the Board of Directors of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, I am so pleased to announce that Corrie Zoll will become our new Executive Director beginning September 5. Corrie takes the helm from our illustrious and amazing Interim Executive Director Catherine Jordan, who is retiring in early September.

A longtime resident of the Midtown Phillips Neighborhood, Corrie has 20 years of experience in arts and nonprofit management as an artist, program director, development professional, community organizer, board member and organizational leader. Most recently, he served as Pillsbury House Theatre’s Development Manager. He also served on the Curriculum Development Team for ArtsLab (Arts Midwest) and on the Pillsbury House + Theatre Creative Community Development Leadership Team. He has an MA in Arts and Cultural Management from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a BA in Theater from Grinnell College in Iowa.

Corrie brings with him a great deal of experience aligned with a passion for the arts, understanding of organizational dynamics, commitment to community, awareness of pressing social issues and a fresh perspective on how this incredible nonprofit can be resilient and successful in the future.

As you all know, over the past year, we have proven our resilience in this time of great challenge – thanks to the incredible staff, artists, donors, board and community members that make HOBT as special as it is. We are excited by what the future holds and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Best wishes,


Kirstin Wiegmann
Board Chair

Re-live the 2015 MayDay Parade

It’s the 41st Annual MayDay Parade, captured in all of its colorful and astonishing glory by RJL Photography! Thanks to all photographers – professional and amateur – who keep MayDay alive year ’round with their stunning images. Enjoy!

A matching grant makes it easy to give!


Dear Friends:

We come to you to request your critical support. If you give by the end of our fiscal year on August 31 your gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000 by a generous challenge grant from the Still Ain’t Satisfied Foundation!

Now more than ever, our work as storytellers, culture carriers and wisdom weavers is needed. The Powderhorn, Phillips and larger Twin Cities’ communities depend on HOBT to create heartfelt and captivating performances that tap into our shared stories and challenge the status quo. HOBT engages people around the critical issues of our times – the health of our environment, the sacredness of our relationships with each other – to find our common experiences and values. We have strong artists and activists who are supported in speaking and sharing their truths. When our nation is suffering the continuing blows of racism, environmental degradation and injustice, art-making is an important response. Our MayDay Parade and Festival remains cathartic and iconic. Last year’s “La Natividad” holiday show explored the wonders of birth cloaked in the challenging issues of immigration. Our translation of “Are You Thirsty?” into a Hip Hop version by and for young adults will bring the vital topic of water security to audiences most affected by the problem.

In the midst of this challenging environment, we are planning a terrific season of performances and programs for 2016. Together, the board, staff and artists are in the process of exploring a range of space and administrative options to best meet the future, ensure economic stability and fulfill our mission. We will keep you updated and invite you to discussions in early fall.

Thanks to you and other friends, we have been able to convert your support and goodwill into successful efforts to address our financial crisis. We are happy to report that we are current with our vendors and creditors, have paid off our bank line of credit, improved our management and accounting systems and have met our program commitments.

Yet, our restoration efforts are not done. In order to keep the momentum going, we need your help. We must raise $50,000 by August 31 to end our fiscal year in the black and to start the new fiscal year with resources to support our valued staff. Shay Berkowitz and Phyllis Wiener and their Still Ain’t Satisfied – a Foundation with Attitude have offered an amazing challenge grant of $20,000 to encourage individual contributions. They ask that you stand with them to match their gift with one of your own. Please donate today so HOBT can continue to bring people together for the common good through the power of puppet and mask performance.

With deep appreciation,


PS – Please consider becoming a sustaining donor to HOBT through our Heartbeats program, our growing family of supporters who generously give monthly to the theatre. More information is available online at www.hobt.org/donate.


A MayDay Thank You!

Thank you! You, who participated in planning meetings and attended public workshops. You, who volunteered before, during and after the parade, ceremony and festival. You, who came together with your family/friends/neighbors/community to celebrate with us! Thank you for your creative energy, your hard work, your kindness, your enthusiasm, and for being a part of an incredible, beautiful, powerful MayDay!

Didn’t get enough of MayDay?

Check out our Facebook page to see all the great parade/ceremony/festival photos (posted by you!)

City Pages has a great slide show of parade photos at The Smiles of May Day 2015 

Take a peek inside this year’s MayDay Public Workshops

Learn more about the MayDay Theme: …And Still We Rise!

Didn’t get the chance to make a donation to support MayDay?

You still can! Donate today!

MayDay Festival Entertainment Schedule 2015

Sunday, May 3, 2015

4:00pm  —  Dred I Dread
5:00pm  —  Machinery Hill
6:00pm  —  Positive Vibrations aka Maroons

Sponsored by Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli
12:00pm  —  Roe Family Singers
1:45pm  —  One Ukulele
2:30pm  —  Greg Herriges
3:15pm  —  Heart of a Tinman
4:00pm  —  SisterTree
4:45pm  —  Andra Suchy
5:30pm  —  Carlos Lumbi & El Taller del Amatl
6:15pm  —  Brass Messengers

12:00pm  —  World Beat Dance Music
2:00pm  —  Swimsuit Area
2:45pm  —  Bomba Umoya
3:30pm  —  Ben Glaros Electric
4:15pm  —  Ginstrings
5:00pm  —  Rumba Eterna
5:45pm  —  Business Man

Sponsored by Whole Foods Markets
2:00-6:00pm  —  RARE Productions

Stage & Ceremony Sound by Event Pro, Inc., Expertease Fitness, Homestead Road presents: Bring Life Home, Laughter Yoga, Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Million Artist Movement Quilt Making, Community, Morris Dancers, Thera Labyrinth, TruArt Speaks, Umoja Drum Circle, Wilderness Inquiry Canoe Rides, Women’s Drum Circle


…And Still We Rise

We rise to END any and all forms of racial oppression. So that all can breathe full and limitlessly and know they are free and divine. YES!

We rise so that the legacy of slavery and oppression will not live on anymore. Not in the prison industrial complex or racial profiling or state-sponsored violence or senseless killings or ignorant stereotypes or hateful confusion or soul depression or greedy indifference. This stops NOW.

We rise to heal the dis-ease of racism in all our hearts and the collective heart of the United States of America! We rise with galvanizing fire so that all the pain and sacrifices of our ancestors can be fully vindicated and freedom fully arrives! YES!

We rise so that all can know a free heart when walking in the streets. We rise so all can lay in the shade of the Tree of Life, feeling luscious breezes and warm kisses knowing all are loved to their core. YES!

We rise in affirmation that Black Lives are sacred. And sweet, ingenious, inventive, unfolding, blossoming, courageous, resilient, ancient, soulful, queer, folk, complex, diverse, precious and infinite.

Parade Sections:

Ecstatic Origins
Celebrates All Life twined together as a Tree of Life.

Elephant in the Room
Examines the longstanding mechanism of racial oppression and white privilege in the United States of America.

We Rise!
We rise with galvanizing fire to heal the dis-ease of racism in all our hearts and the collective heart of the United States of America!

Black Lives Are Sacred
Affirming a daybreak that’s wondrously clear with the action of health and freedom for all, we envision: the police force as teams of Grandmas, of social systems based on Cooperative Abundance, of Children living free and being taught the Whole Truth of ancestry, of Love raining down and cleansing all.

And Still We Rise
Recognizes that our human rising is grounded in the continual generative energy of our living earth.


The title of this year’s MayDay theme is inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise.
Thank you Maya Angelou (1928-2014)! Your many years of stunning, passionate work feeds us!

PuppetLab 2015

Thanks to all who attended one of our world Premiere PuppetLab performances. We had record-breaking numbers at the box office, and we are so grateful for your support of genre-pushing, boundary-smashing, artist-supporting work.

To all the PuppetLab artists of 2015, and everyone who helped them paper mache, sewed their costumes, made their videos, took photos of their work, offered moral support, didn’t complain (or at least didn’t complain too much) about long long nights in the studio in this ~ the fifth ~ year of PuppetLab, congratulations! You DID IT! You made it!

To all emerging puppet artists: Keep your eyes open for the applications for the 2016 cycle in the fall.

Thanks again,

Mpls Lantern Fest Lights the Winter Night

The inaugural Mpls Lantern Fest, a partnership between the Minneapolis Downtown Council and In the Heart of the Beast, was held on Saturday, February 21, 2015. Lantern workshop participants built more than 800 lanterns at workshops throughout February and then converged on Marquette Plaza in Downtown Minneapolis to Light the Winter Night!

Didn’t get enough of Mpls Lantern Fest? Check out these photos:

Photos: Mpls Lantern Fest Lights the Winter Night

Photos: Mpls Lantern Fest Workshops

Behind the Scenes: Constellation Lanterns Being Built 

Slide Show by Alan Wilfahrt

Read more about the Mpls Lantern Fest:

Twin Cities Daily Planet

Downtown Journal

City Pages


Mpls Lantern Fest

Learn more about building the giant constellation lanterns: 

WCCO interview with artist Mark Safford (he built the giant bear lantern)

La Natividad Thank You!

A big THANK YOU to La Natividad volunteers, cast and crew, our partner St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and to YOU! We had such a successful run and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the over 1500 of you who walked through the streets of south Minneapolis with Maria and José.

Didn’t get enough of La Natividad?

Read about La Natividad in the Star Tribune
Watch a segment about La Natividad on TPT’S Almanac