Patrick’s Cabaret: a home for new art for 25 years

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Patrick Scully

Today there’s a big party going on at Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis. The performance venue is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

This is a remarkable accomplishment for any theater; Patrick Scully, the creator of the cabaret, says he never imagined it becoming a permanent fixture.

When the first show happened, I wasn’t even thinking beyond that show.

I was the performer, publicist, front of house, back of house, everything – I was exhausted but people came up to me and said “wow, this was really great – when are you going to have the next one of these?”

Scully created the cabaret out of personal need. He says he wanted to be able to perform new work without having to “jump through all the hoops.”

There was always an audition that you had to do. An audition is fine if you’ve already finished a piece that you was ready to go, but for most of us as artists, you learn something by showing it to an audience. So the intention was to create a space where people could see something that was been seen for the first time. It’s like writing a piece – you have a rough draft, you get a response to that, and then you keep writing.

Over the years, Patrick’s Cabaret has become a “feeder” of talent. Performers try out new work at the cabaret, keep working on it, and then take it to a larger venue in town. From there, it might be seen by someone programming an even bigger venue, and get added to their season. Scully says it’s an accomplishment he’s incredibly proud of.

For 25 years we’ve been able to sustain artists by providing that entry level for their work. Patrick’s Cabaret is about making sure the topsoil is healthy and thriving so that the earthworms and butterflies and other things are healthy. In other words, those major arts organizations are healthier when the grassroots organizations are healthier.

Patrick’s Cabaret’s 25th anniversary party kicks off at 3pm with a parade, followed by a host of musicians and other acts performing inside and outside the cabaret. You can find out more about the celebration here.

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