Theater companies form Minnesota Theater Alliance

Leah Cooper
Leah Cooper, the new program director of the Minnesota Theater Alliance. (MPR Photo/Marianne Combs)

After years of discussion Minnesota theaters have formed a statewide body.

The Minnesota Theater Alliance will serve as an umbrella organization to serve the needs of individual companies, and promote the state's wide-ranging theater community.

Program director Leah Cooper says a big part of the alliance's task will be to convince more people to consider theater as an entertainment option.

"I think audiences in general are bombarded with messages about how they ought to entertain themselves," Cooper said. "So how we break through that bombarding and make theater relevant to people's lives is a challenge that every arts organization struggles with and the Alliance will struggle with on behalf of the theater community."

Cooper says the public will see the groups work through a centralized website covering all the state's theaters, and a campaign encouraging people to consider attending more plays.

"I think one idea that is on the table is to talk about a centralized ticketing service, maybe last-minute discount ticketing options and that sort of thing," Cooper said. "So from the audience's standpoint that would be the most tangible thing. Hopefully, long-term, less tangible, is that they will see a stronger theater community."

Other communities have had similar alliances for many years, but Cooper says Minnesota theaters have been able to achieve many of the same things through simple collaboration up till this point.