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Ten Thousand Things Theater

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Theater

Mission: Ten Thousand Things (TTT) brings lively, intelligent theater to people with little access to the wealth of the arts -- who in turn help us to reimagine theater. Performing at homeless shelters, prisons, schools and housing projects, using the region's finest actors, this bare-bones, award-winning company invigorates ancient tales, classic stories and contemporary plays through its search for honest, open interactions between actors and audiences. In such humble settings, the skills and imaginations of great artists confront the honesty and insight of people who have lived hard lives. Through this dynamic exchange, we create urgent, electrifying work -- a reminder that theater is essential to all.

Results: Over the past twenty-five years, TTT has toured sixty highly successful productions of award-winning plays to low-income audiences. Because of the extraordinary caliber of talent we use – and, more importantly, because of the honesty, depth, liveliness and urgency our audiences demand of us! -- we regularly receive critical acclaim. We won an Ivey for Romeo & Juliet in 2015. Minnesota Monthly named us the Best Theater Experience in 2013. MPR featured us as an "Art Hero" in 2012. Star Tribune named Michelle Hensley Best Theater Artistic Director in 2012. Pioneer Press named us Top Theater of 2012. We also won an Ivey in 2011 for Doubt and in 2010 for Othello. In 2010 we were also awarded the Sally Ordway Vision Award and City Pages named us Best Small Theater and named Michelle Hensley Best Director and Artist of the Year. For many years, Star Tribune has chosen a TTT show for its annual lists of Outstanding Theater Productions: Henry IV, Part I (2015) The Music Man (2014); A Streetcar Named Desire (2013); Measure for Measure (2012); Man of La Mancha (2011); Doubt (2011); Once On This Island (2008); Richard III (2007); Merchant of Venice (2006), Iphigenia and Ragtime (2005) and Cyrano (2004). The Pioneer Press regularly places our shows on its annual Top 10 Theater Production lists, as well, including: Man of La Mancha (2011); My Fair Lady (2010); Raskol (2009); Once on This Island and Twelfth Night (2008) Little Shop of Horrors (2007): In a Garden (2006); Antigone (2005); and Cyrano (2004).

Target demographics: Low-income non-traditional theatergoers and traditional theatergoers

Geographic areas served: Twin Cities and greater Minnesota

Programs: Touring three exceptional productions each year to prisons, homeless shelters, low-income senior residences, housing projects, adult education centers and traditional theatergoers at Open Book, Bedlam Lowertown and MN Opera Center.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 5

Ten Thousand Things Theater brings amazing theater to our treatment center. The staff and clients alike have enjoyed the plays immensely. They make the experience accessible and I often hear, I don't like the theater but that was great.


Board Member

Rating: 5

Had an opportunity to see a TTT show - Stones in His Pockets - @ a boys juvenile detention facility. Tough audience, but the experienced actors were up to the challenge. Despite the unusual setting, the audience members reaction were not that different from folks @ the Guthrie. Some clearly did not want to be there, most were entertained by the wonderful actors, and a few appeared genuinely moved by the story "on stage". Highest quality theater and about as accessible as you can imagine - that's what TTT is all about.


Board Member

Rating: 5

A group of us attended the Ten Thousand Things production of Othello in October 2009. It was an incredible, intensely moving experience. Months later, we stil talk about what a wonderful production it was. I have seen other Ten Thousand Things productions and been similarly impressed. I am pleased to be a board member, season ticket holder and donor. Michael Morrow St. Louis Park MN