Kate McDonald

Time.

Time tests the sustainability of friendships, collaborations, connections.

Time measures the impact of our relationships within the social, political and financial context in which we live.

Time provides a lens through which we assess the past, reflect, and take accountability.

When we – Pangea World Theater and Teatro Del Pueblo – started our collaboration more than 10 years ago, the American economy was in a tailspin that was being categorized at the time as the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Common sense would dictate that organizations like ours would have to curl up and go into hibernation mode until the economy recovered.

Yet we did the opposite.

We combined our individual resources and went big and bold. That was the time artists in the community needed to be given resources and jobs. Together, we produced large projects like The House On Mango StreetLorca In a Green Dress and Isla Tuliro, and presented the work of artists from across the country.

In order to make these large projects happen, Pangea World Theater and Teatro Del Pueblo laid a strong foundation for the vision of our collaboration and its longevity. Organizational, development and artistic structures were put in place to ensure equity and sustainability. Our boards and staff came together multiple times in conversation and strategic planning. Together, we articulated this vision for the collaboration:

Sharing of knowledge, resources and creative energies to advance both organizations artistically and financially. In doing so, we hope to create an inspirational model for equitable collaborations among artistic / nonprofit organizations.  In working together to create dynamic, thoughtful theater productions and other events, we hope to engage and foster civic engagement and dialogue within diverse communities to help address common concerns and constraints.

Both organizations have been energized throughout this process of sharing ideas, recognizing strengths and areas that need support, bringing skills and resources to the collaboration, and developing a framework to make the collaboration operational.

One of the primary lessons we have learned through this process is the difference between “working together” and a true collaboration. The latter is based on spirituality and trust; the former is merely “getting the work done.” As we reflect on the past 10 years of our collaboration, we look forward to another decade of journeying together both in friendship and in professional collaboration.

Explore MN Theater is a series produced in partnership with Explore Minnesota, Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and The Minnesota Theater Alliance. More from Explore MN Theater here.

Discover additional stories about Minnesota theater.