Penumbra Theatre Company

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The Penumbra Theatre Company, an African-American theatre company in Saint Paul, Minnesota, was founded by Lou Bellamy in 1976. The theater has been recognized for its artistic quality and its role in launching the careers of playwrights including two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson. [1]

The Penumbra Theatre creates a forum for African-American voices in the Twin Cities' well-respected theater community. Through its commitment to provide realistic, inspirational works that redefine the consciousness of its audience, Penumbra continues to garner praise and a loyal following.

Each year Penumbra performs for over 40,000 people and conducts educational activities for more than 5,000 students. The theater employs more actors, choreographers, dancers, directors, and administrators of color than all other theatres in Minnesota combined. Located at St Paul's Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in the Martin Luther King Center building, the theatre strives to influence the Selby/Dale neighborhood and the larger community.

Called "the largest and most important African-American theater in this nation" by Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Penumbra Theatre Company continually lives up to its mission of presenting artistically excellent productions that depict emotional, relevant, and valuable experiences from an African American perspective.


In January 2000 the theatre was given the Jujamcyn Award for development of artistic talent. Penumbra has been named "Best Theatre for Drama" by City Pages and "One of Ten Companies that Make a Difference" by Stage Directions magazine.


  1. ^ Hill, Errol; James V. Hatch (2005). A History of African American Theatre. Cambridge University Press. pp. 471–72. ISBN 978-0-521-62443-5. 

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Coordinates: 44°56′57″N 93°7′23″W / 44.94917°N 93.12306°W / 44.94917; -93.12306