Southern Theater artists petitioning for evaluation of managementby Marianne Combs, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis, Minn. — Artists are petitioning the Southern Theater in Minneapolis to agree to an independent evaluation of its management.
The petition letter comes in the wake of a meeting between the community and the Southern Theater that failed to reassure artists about the management of the theater.
Last month the Southern Board put long-time artistic director Jeff Bartlett on indefinite leave, without explanation.
Two hundred concerned performers, former Southern staff and audience members signed the letter. The letter expressed dismay at the way Bartlett was let go, and the lack of information provided by the board.
"We need to know why this happened," said choreographer Stuart Pimsler, who also signed the letter. "For somebody like Jeff Bartlett, who's been at the Southern Theater for thirty years, to be dismissed overnight and for nobody to be given reasons as to why this has happened it's inexcusable."
Pimsler says artists are also concerned that they have no representation on the current board. He says dance companies that traditionally work with the Southern are considering boycotting the theater.
A representative of the Southern Theater Board could not be reached for comment.