Reimagining theater in prisons, homeless shelters

'All the Lights On' by Michelle Hensley
'All the Lights On' by Michelle Hensley
Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society Press

Theater doesn't have to happen in a theater. For more than 20 years, the Ten Thousand Things theater company has staged shows in prisons, homeless shelters, adult education centers and other non-traditional venues.

Michelle Hensley is the founder and artistic director of Ten Thousand Things. Her model for, as she puts it, "reimagining theater," is catching on elsewhere in the country. She details the model and its success stories in a new book, "All The Lights On."

From The Christian Science Monitor:

The Ten Thousand Things model remains something of an anomaly in the theater world - a well-respected organization, staffed by a rotating cast of professional actors, that eschews traditional stages altogether. As a critic for a local paper wrote recently, "It's a delicious irony that to see some of the most skilled theater in the Twin Cities, you must journey to the least prosperous fringes."

Hensley discussed the Ten Thousand Things model with MPR News' Tom Crann.

The book launch event for "All the Lights On" is at 7 p.m. on March 9 at Open Book in Minneapolis.

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