528 Hennepin Ave S (8th Floor)
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Illusion Theater was founded in 1974 by Executive Producing Director Michael Robins. In 1977, founding company member Bonnie Morris joined Michael as Co-Producing Director. Our commitment to the Twin Cities includes providing opportunities for over 100 artists each year; working in partnership with schools and service providers to develop healthy youth; and designing programs for corporations to help are employees examine issues that affect them in the workplace and their neighborhoods.
Since the beginning, Illusion Theater has commissioned or developed over 350 original Mainstage plays that have been seen by more than one million people. Plays developed at Illusion have been staged by more than 40 theaters across the United States, including major regional theaters such as the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Goodman Theater in Chicago, and the Manhattan Theater Club. Illusion productions have received an IVEY award; two plays have been made into motion picture; 10 have been published. One was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Two plays have been finalists for the American Critics Association Best New Play.
Illusion presents its seasons at the Cowles Center for the Arts in downtown Minneapolis. Our programming includes a Mainstage Series of plays; the annual Fresh Ink Series, giving emerging and established artists the opportunity to experiment with new ideas in front of an audience; the annual Lights Up! Series, devoted to emerging Minnesota artists between the ages of 18 and 30; and a Reading Series, giving emerging and established writers opportunities to hear their works in development read by professional actors. Illusion also tours in the fall and spring, performing for schools, universities, art series, corporations, churches and communities.
In 1978, Illusion pioneered the concept of prevention/education plays. The Education Program has since reached beyond the main stage to touch a large national audience through performance, workshops, tours, peer education sites, broadcasts, and educational materials. Our Education Program has two components: Project TRUST¸ a national peer education program of a dozen plays and workshops for youth and adults to explore difficult issues they face in their lives; and Theatre Access for Youth, locally based program that provides primarily disadvantaged students and youth with extended artist residences, peer education, school touring, ad discounted or free student matinees of Illusion performances. The Education Program is renowned throughout the state and country for its effective combination of art and education in addressing of vital importance to communities.