Two leaders combine arts and social services at PHT

Photo by Anthony Souffle for the Star Tribune, 2018.

By Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

The two leaders of Pillsbury House + Theatre were discussing business in a conference area when a stranger wandered in. “Do you know how to attach a résumé to an e-mail?” asked the visitor, who was using the center’s computer lab.

“Sure,” Noël Raymond replied as she rose to help.

A few minutes later she resumed the conversation — centered on the work that she and Faye Price do for the 27,000 people who each year come through the doors of their south Minneapolis community center. That figure includes nearly 18,000 theatergoers who come to see top-flight professional productions, but also neighbors drawn by the day care, after-school programs, health clinic, free Wi-Fi and other services Pillsbury House offers.

“No day looks like any other day around here, and no day goes the way I expect it to,” said Raymond. “There’s such a diversity of activities and programs and people and partnerships and crises that come up.”

Interruptions and challenges are welcome, said Price, because they present opportunities to grow and to be nimble. Besides, she added, it’s gratifying to be of service.

Price and Raymond are known in the Twin Cities and beyond for their theater work. In a field where leadership has opened unevenly for women and people of color, they have held the reins at Pillsbury House for 18 years, producing and directing dynamic work in a 96-seat playhouse.

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