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Penumbra founder Lou Bellamy reflects on theater's near-closure

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Lou Bellamy
Lou Bellamy, founder and artistic director of Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul.
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

The Penumbra Theatre's newest production, "Spunk," premiered Thursday night, marking a rebirth for the organization. The theater canceled shows last year amid financial difficulties that nearly closed the lauded African-American company. The show runs through April 7.

Penumbra is alive today because of an outpouring of public support, including 1,400 donations that met a fundraising goal of $359,000 in December.

Artistic Director Lou Bellamy, who founded Penumbra 37 years ago, spoke to The Daily Circuit about what he's learned from the ordeal and what he's doing to ensure the company survives after its near-death experience.