Last week, Bedlam Theatre announced a campaign to raise $400,000 by December. In order to reach that goal, the theater is rolling out a series of fundraisers and events to raise money in creative ways. Since opening their Lowertown venue just over a year ago, the theater says on a Keep Bedlam Alive Facebook page, Bedlam has doubled their revenue and lowered expenses. Unfortunately, they say, they’re still short on funds.
“We need to raise $400,000 in a capital campaign, and we need to do it by December for our 2016 to start right,” the company says on the fundraiser Facebook page. “Without these funds, we face complete closure, both in Lowertown and as an organization.”
Founded in 1993, Bedlam began by putting on original, anything-goes shows, emphasizing collaboration between performers and community members. They opened their first venue in 1996 on Minneapolis’s West Bank, and in the years since, the company has expanded to encompass a multi-media venue, presenting a variety of music, theater, and dance shows.
In 2014, having lost their West Bank space, Bedlam opened a new venue in Lowertown St. Paul. Among the many music events hosted at Bedlam Lowertown is For the Love, a celebration of the St. Paul community and the Twin Cities hip-hop scene, which celebrated its second anniversary last month.
To encourage donations, Bedlam recently launched an Indiegogo campaign in hopes of crowdfunding $75,000 by Sept. 15. Depending on the amount of money given, donors can choose to receive fresh-baked pies, DJ privileges, or free beer. They’ve also booked a new event called “21 Beer Nights for Bedlam,” offering plenty of beer and wild shows on Tuesdays from Aug. 11 through the end of the year. They hope to raise $125,000 through these events, in addition to $200,000 from major donors and new income initiatives.
For the first of the “21 Beer Nights”, Bedlam will host Glaucus, Nomenclatures, and Adriatic, three electronic hip-hop groups. The show will be free, held from 7:00-10:00 p.m. on Aug. 11. Future “21 Beer Nights for Bedlam” events will be announced on the Bedlam Lowertown Facebook page. “These fundraisers combined with rising sales,” say Bedlam’s proprietors on that page, “will allow us to eradicate this shortfall and keep doing what we do, with you.”
Allegra Wallingford, of Eden Prairie, is a rising sophomore at the University of Notre Dame. She runs a music blog called the Suburban Hipster and drinks a lot of coffee.