Penumbra: Exhibit Experience

For immediate release

Release dated: 
November 15, 2016
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148,
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137,

Penumbra: Exhibit Experience

“Penumbra Theatre at 40: Art, Race and a Nation on Stage,” Feb. 18 to July 30, 2017, at the Minnesota History Center.

Through this exhibit, visitors will learn about Penumbra’s early years and its roots in and commitment to St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood; signature plays and playwrights, including two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson; and profiles of various company members, all set against a backdrop of African American artistic history.

This exhibit is told through the voices of actors, directors, playwrights, community members, audience goers and critics. At the exhibit visitors will:

  • Step into a portion of the set for the play “Fences” by August Wilson
  • Sit at a dressing room table and hear Penumbra actors share their favorite stories
  • Watch multimedia presentations about the rich history and bright future of Penumbra Theatre, and its longest-running educational program, the Summer Institute
  • Explore the stories behind the images that make up a giant quilt wall, a replica of a quilt wall painted across the back of the Penumbra auditorium
  • Take a seat at an art table to color in costumes, sets, and playbills
  • View theatre artifacts, including costumes, playbills, props and set models
  • Discover the stories behind some of Penumbra’s most beloved plays, including “Fences” and “The Ballad of Emmett Till,” the popular annual holiday showcase “Black Nativity,” and a rare look at August Wilson’s first play, “Black Bart and the Sacred Hills”

Penumbra Theatre actors will perform short scenes and monologues inside the exhibit the second Tuesday evening of every month, March-July, 6-8 p.m.