Financial troubles put In the Heart of the Beast Theatre in jeopardy

For decades, it's been a celebrated holiday in south Minneapolis. 

Tens of thousands of people attend the MayDay Parade in the Powderhorn neighborhood each year. But because of financial problems, the annual tradition could soon look a little different.     

On the corner of 15th Avenue and East Lake Street in south Minneapolis stands In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. Its elaborate stage plays, outreach and annual MayDay Parade united the community for decades.

“As a single mid-sized arts organization, we just don’t have the infrastructure to continue to produce MayDay on our own anymore,” said theatre director Corrie Zoll.

Despite the loss of major donors, Corrie Zoll says that MayDay festivities this year will go on as planned. However, what lies ahead is uncertain.

“What we’ve seen over the last decade is that grant funding that is available for the arts has grown a lot smaller and individual giving is less predictable than it used to be,” Zoll said.

Facing budget cuts, a staff of 15 full-time employees will soon be reduced by half and youth programs will be eliminated. For the first time ever, the nonprofit is launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000.

“There are some financial realities that face a lot of mid-sized arts organizations like ours, that lead us to believe that we really have to find a different way to run our organization if it’s going to continue to be financially viable,” Zoll said.

With its rich history, Zoll doesn’t question whether there is a future for the parade. Rather, he says funding woes are taking the nonprofit in a new direction.

“What we would really like our community to do is support us during these times.”