First show since 2020 the first with new presenting partner Hennepin Theatre Trust at 824 Hennepin Avenue
MINNEAPOLIS (April 1, 2022) — Hennepin Theatre Trust has announced that the Brave New Workshop (BNW) comedy theatre is returning to the stage for the first time since 2020 with Back to Workshop, or Everything’s Fine!
Heading back to the office? Adjusting to the “new normal”? Quietly repressing the stress of a world that requires denial just to function? Back to Workshop, or Everything’s Fine! is just the show for you running Thursday, May 5 through Saturday, August 6, 2022, at 824 Hennepin Avenue., in downtown Minneapolis. This is Brave New Workshop’s 304th show with preview performances beginning May 5 and an opening night scheduled for Saturday, May 14, 2022.
Tickets go on sale Friday, April 8 at 11 a.m. to the general public at BraveNewWorkshop.org.
Preview performances are:
Thursday, May 5 to Saturday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 11 to Friday, May 13
All six preview performances are at 7:30 p.m. with a ticket price of $20 per ticket
Opening night is Saturday, May 14, 7:30 p.m. Remaining performances are Friday, May 20 to Saturday, Aug. 6. Performance dates and times vary.
Preview performances: $23
Thursday and Saturday matinee performances: $38
Friday and Saturday evening performances: $43
A $3 service fee per ticket is included.
In their triumphant return after being closed by ‘Executive Order,’ the Brave New Workshop takes a look at all the things at which we constantly have to avoid taking a look. In a world that requires denial to get out of bed in the morning, this show will examine how we got to a place where the quiet parts are being said out loud, the loudest people are overriding the smartest, and the smartest people are being outsmarted by a five-letter-word guessing game.
Back to Workshop, or Everything’s Fine! is BNW’s debut production and first time working with presenting partner Hennepin Theatre Trust. In 2021, HTT purchased Brave New Workshop and the 824 Hennepin Avenue space to help steward BNW’s world-class sketch comedy and improv traditions and expand artistic and educational opportunities. However, much like the garbage can Oscar lives in on Sesame Street, the Workshop will maintain its theater, brand and trademark “promiscuous hostility”, with the agreement that it will only be allowed to stay on Hennepin as long as its snark and low-budget props stay firmly in its building at 824 Hennepin.
The comedy and theatre venue has long been a part of the storied Hennepin Theatre District, now celebrating its Centennial. “We are honored to carry on Brave New Workshop’s cultural legacy by ensuring its future as producing company in the heart of the Hennepin Theatre District,” said Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. “BNW aligns well with the Trust’s mission to drive cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota.”
“There are a lot of cliches I could throw around about ‘unprecedented times’ and the value of live theater, but the truth is I’m just grateful we get to make people laugh again,” says BNW’s Artistic Director Caleb McEwen, who has been with BNW for 26 years. “The Workshop has been a place for people to have a good laugh at the world around them for more than 60 years. Now is the perfect time for people to come back or discover us for the first time.”
The Brave New Workshop is now in its 64th year of crafting audacious and original satirical sketch comedy and improvisation. Founded in 1958, the Brave New Workshop is the longest running comedy theatre in the United States. Dudley Riggs, a fifth-generation circus aerialist who performed all over the globe, originally founded BNW as the “Instant Theatre Company.” Riggs assembled and led a talented group of writers and performers intending to make people think by first making them laugh. The company opened off-Broadway with a show consisting of vaudeville-style sketches, burlesque blackouts, and something completely new: the use of audience input in the creation of “instant theatre.” This “theatre without a net” would be the beginning of comedic improvisation as it is widely known today.
After touring nationally, Dudley and his “Instant Theatre Company” found a permanent home in the Twin Cities in 1958, and the name Brave New Workshop, was added in 1961. In 1997, co-owners John Sweeney and Jenni Lilledahl purchased Brave New Workshop from Dudley Riggs to ensure long-term sustainability and honor the unique history of the theater. In 2021, Hennepin Theatre Trust purchased the Brave New Workshop and the downtown facility (824 Hennepin) from Sweeney and Lilledahl to steward the theatres’ rich world-class sketch comedy and improv tradition.
Since the beginning, Brave New Workshop has made its home on Hennepin Avenue – first in the original East Hennepin location, then in uptown from 1961-2010. Their mainstage theatre home is now in the downtown facility at 824 Hennepin in the heart of Minneapolis’ theater district. In the more than 60 years since its founding, Brave New Workshop has produced more than 400 original productions and exposed over 4 million people to the theatre’s unapologetic and unwavering brand of sketch comedy and improvisation. With an impressive list of alumni, including Louie Anderson, Lizz Winstead, Stevie Ray, Al Franken, Melissa Peterman, Tom Davis, Mo Collins and Cedric Yarbrough, the Brave New Workshop is a true Minnesota institution.
Brave New Workshop, now in its third owner and 64th year of crafting audacious, hilarious, and thought-provoking original comedy, improv and satire in Minneapolis, is a Twin Cities comedy institution, and a truly unique place to enjoy an evening of laughter that will make you think on the car ride home. Brave New Workshop has been writing, performing and producing original sketch comedy, music and comedy improvisation longer than any other theatre in the United States.
Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.
Heart of Hennepin – celebrating 100 years of the Hennepin Theatre District
To honor the centennial, Hennepin Theatre Trust is kicking off a yearlong celebration for the Orpheum, State and Pantages theatres, along with The Hennepin event center and 824 Hennepin, home to the Brave New Workshop comedy theatre. This year-long centennial celebration honors the history of the Hennepin Theatre District and looks ahead to what the future holds for the arts, the Trust and downtown neighbors. HennepinTheatreTrust.org/centennial.
Vaccine policy and safety protocols
Given the improvement in COVID-19 positivity rates and cases in the community, beginning on April 18, 2022, our venues will no longer require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test results to attend performances or events at the historic Orpheum, State and Pantages theatres, The Hennepin and 824 Hennepin. Masks will also no longer be required but are welcomed and encouraged. These changes will take effect on April 18, 2022, barring a change in the current environment or risk category. We will continue to evaluate the latest guidance from the CDC, MDH, and its medical advisors and adjust health and safety protocols accordingly. For the latest health and safety information, please visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org.