Giving life to local theater
The Mounds Theatre is located in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood on the East Side of St Paul. Once a classic single screen cinema, it fell into disrepair as a warehouse for decades. Fortunately Raeann Ruth and her organization Portage for Youth pulled together volunteers and funding -and with the generous donation of the building by George Hardenbergh- renovated it into a performance space, opening in 2003. The new Mounds was designed as a center for educating youth and a place for both film and live theater to be enjoyed by the community. In January of 2015, the day-to-day operations and board transitioned to Jessica Johnson, an East-Sider who had been producing shows in the space for several years.
Continuing the legacy of creating great things on the East Side, the volunteer-run Mounds Theatre is working to continue to provide a professional space for small and growing productions. We look to support the arts by paying the artists, and to that end try to make sure as much ticket money as possible goes back into the pockets of artists, while still keeping the heat on and our facilities up to date. We received a St Paul STAR grant to upgrade our sound, lighting, and projection, as well as much needed security and HVAC repairs. This funding along with the hard work of our volunteers has made the space more appealing as a modern performance venue.
With these recent efforts and updates we're now open more frequently; we're having problems fitting show 'runs' into the weekends - the best possible kind of problem for a theater! We would like to add more weekday programming, especially youth summer and after-school theater programs. For that we will need to pay someone to coordinate and design those programs, and it will increase certain overhead, such as insurance.
Your donations will support us building youth programming, as well as re-building our operating reserves so we never again have to go 6 years with 1/3 of our furnaces out of commission.