Call for Curators: 2018 Spring Season

Call for Curators

2018 Spring Season (February-May) with Patrick’s Cabaret

Deadline: Apply by Thursday, December 14th at 11:59 PM

by visiting

Page Summary

Patrick's Cabaret seeks artists to serve as Curators for its 2018 Spring Season. Curators will be supported in their efforts to curate a compelling show, and will select artists and host the show, among other responsibilities. Some opportunities have pre-selected themes, and some do not. Applications can be made online (preferred), on paper, or with additional assistance as requested.

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Patrick’s Cabaret is a queer-led performance art incubator supporting the growth and development of artists on the edge of culture. Our work strives to center artists of color, artists with disabilities, and artists with queer and trans identities, and all the ways these communities intersect. We grow new art and new artists by encouraging artists of all experience levels to try new things, take risks, and present works-in-progress. We connect artists to education, performance platforms, tangible resources, and to each other, to put their talents to work. We build a diverse network of artists committed to forwarding a radically inclusive and progressive creative community where artists on the margins can thrive.


The cornerstone of our programming is the “Cabaret” formula Patrick Scully started in 1986. Each Mainstage Cabaret show unites multiple acts (typically six) under a shared bill, each presenting their own short-form work. Cabarets are designed to offer a mix of artistic disciplines, experience levels, and creative viewpoints, and offer a supportive environment to explore new parts of artists’ performance practices.


For majority of Patrick’s Cabaret’s history, shows have been curated by the Artistic Director or Program Director, with several slots a year also offered to Guest Curators as part of a separate program. Beginning in the 2017 Fall Season, the Guest Curator program officially merged with the Mainstage Cabaret program, and external Curators will now curate all Mainstage Cabarets.


By engaging external artists as Curators, our goal is to nurture a cohort of arts-based organizers ready to stretch their creative leadership capacities to a new level, while also inviting a constant stream of new artists into the Patrick’s Cabaret family.

Patrick’s Cabaret’s Executive Artistic Director Scott Artley selects and supports Curators to produce their own Cabaret shows. Curators each select their own line-up of artists and promote and host the show. In a town where artists often feel overwhelmed by the logistics of self-producing a show, Patrick’s Cabaret builds the “box” for you: securing a venue, hiring technicians, managing box office, providing event staff, and producing promotional tools. That way, Curators are free to focus on building a community of artists, a willing audience, and a compelling show.


We seek applications from both emerging curators ready to develop skills and experience in community-driven event production, and experienced curators ready to deepen their curatorial practice in the context of a particularly open-minded community arts institution. Individuals, and Curatorial Teams of up to 2 people, may apply. Four Curators/Curatorial Teams will be selected in this round.

Curators are expected to:

  • Participate in 1-on-1 planning meetings with the Executive Artistic Director (usually 1 in-person meeting, and regular phone/email check-ins)

  • Develop a show concept or curatorial framework that engages multiple artists to present their own work

  • Perform outreach to groups and individuals to select artists through an open call process, and maintain communications with them

  • Promote the event and build an audience, with support from Cabaret staff

  • Host technical rehearsal, with support from Cabaret-supplied Technician and staff

  • Host the event: welcome and orient artists, conduct Cabaret welcoming traditions, introduce acts onstage, ensure that the space is set-up and cleaned properly

  • Support and attend the events of other curators in your cohort as able

  • Help Patrick’s Cabaret staff evaluate activities

There are two kinds of curatorial opportunities:

  1. Annual Platforms - These are events with a particular theme or focus that we have hosted in the past with success and we expect to continue on as annual traditions. Curators will be expected to secure artists aligned with the core theme of the event, but can put their own spin on it. These events are great fits for both emerging and established Curators.

    1. For example, Curator Sarah Tan curated the event Anything But English, an annual event featuring artists whose first language is “anything but English,” and created the sub-theme “Language in Space,” which served as a suggestion that artists could think about multilingual space(s) and place(s).

    2. Curator Alison Bergblom Johnson added the sub-theme “Rights/Responsibilities” to her curation of CabarABLE, the annual event featuring the work of artists with disabilities, inviting artists to consider the legal rights and moral responsibilities related to disability justice.

  2. “Wild Card” Platforms - These are curatorial slots that do not have any pre-selected theme or focus. Curators will be expected to create a theme or curatorial framework in the style of a Mainstage Cabaret, but the slate is completely blank on what that focus will be. The event should provide a learning experience for the Curator, and generate new relationships and opportunities for artists, so it is not a good fit to re-stage a previously produced event. These events are open to emerging Curators, but are likely a better fit for an experienced curator.


The following are the Curator slots available for the 2018 Spring Season:

  • “Wild Card” Platform - Fri & Sat, February 16-17 (call 6:30 PM)

    • Venue: Strike Theater

    • Tech rehearsal: Tues Feb 13 (call 6:00 PM)

    • Event theme: No pre-selected theme or focus, the Curator will be expected to create a theme or framework in the style of a Mainstage Cabaret (multiple artists under a shared bill presenting their own short-form work). Strike Theater is a new venue that is usually home to sketch comedy and solo storytellers, but it does have a larger stage, so think about what might be the best fit for that kind of space.

    • 1 Curator/Curatorial Team will be selected

  • Anything But English - Fri & Sat, April 20-21 (call 6:30 PM)

    • Venue: Pangea World Theater Studio

    • Tech rehearsal: Wed April 18 (call 6:00 PM)

    • Event theme: This will be the third year hosting “Anything But English,” a cabaret event featuring artists whose first language is (you guessed it) anything but English. This multi-lingual, multi-cultural event in the past has explored themes including: language, borders, globalism, discrimination, and belonging.

    • 1 Curator/Curatorial Team will be selected

  • Lightning Rod - Events throughout the week of March 25th, performances Fri & Sat March 30-31 (call 6:30 PM)

    • Venue: Phoenix Theater

    • Week-long schedule (attendance is required to some degree in all of these, but we are very willing to work with the schedule of the right candidate):

      • Community Gathering - Sunday, March 25th - 3:00-7:00 PM (call 2:00 PM)

      • Writers’ Circle - Monday, March 26th - Time(s) TBD

      • Rehearsals - Tuesday & Wednesday, March 27th-28th, various times

      • Tech Rehearsal - Thursday, March 29th, 4:00 PM - 11:00 PM

    • About the event: This is the second year we are producing Lightning Rod, a “flash theater” event assembling a diverse team of artists to collaborate to create short new works--conceived, written, rehearsed, and performed within the space of just a week. Approaching the limitation of time as an invitation for creativity, this event brings together over 30 artists to generate new work and new relationships, designed to highlight the importance of artists to comment on and drive change for our current cultural moment.

    • 1 Curator (who we call a “Producer” for this event) will work with Kat Purcell, who helped lead and design this event in its first year. This opportunity is not open to Curatorial Teams.

  • “Wild Card” Platform - Fri & Sat, May 11-12 (call at 6:30 PM)

    • Venue: Open Eye Figure Theater

    • Tech rehearsal: Wed, May 9 (call 6:00 PM)

    • Event theme: No pre-selected theme or focus, the Curator will be expected to create a theme or framework in the style of a Mainstage Cabaret (multiple artists under a shared bill presenting their own short-form work). Of note: Open Eye was the home of Patrick’s Cabaret throughout much of the 1990s, and although we’re open to anything happening here, we’re especially tickled by the idea of someone from that era animating the space with Patrick’s Cabaret energy again!

    • 1 Curator/Curatorial Team will be selected

All shows begin at 7:30 PM and end approximately 9:30 PM, including a 10-15 minute intermission. The curatorial process begins approximately 8 weeks before an event. The next call for curators will be made available for the 2018 Fall Season later around May.


Curators are paid a fee of $300 to compensate their work. Curatorial Teams will share one stipend. Curators/Curatorial teams also receive 5 tickets they can sell for the show (and retain the income), plus free admission to events produced by Patrick’s Cabaret for 1 year.

In 2016 we revised our ticketing and artist payment procedures to reflect our new reality as a mobile organization. Artists are now paid a guaranteed fee, and are given a limited number of tickets to sell for which they keep the full value. For details on the new and improved artist compensation and ticketing procedures, please visit:


A strong Guest Curator applicant or team will:

  • Be grounded in the Twin Cities

  • Have some experience building community around an arts event or creative activity

  • Exhibit high-level skills in communication, reliability, and relationship-building

  • Demonstrate a unique perspective on arts and culture, and its place in community life, particularly with regard to providing opportunities for artists working on the edge of culture, whether because of radical content, experimental form, or cultural marginality

    • Our favorite events often engage with these more serious ideas in the form of a colorful, visceral, inclusive, and celebratory aesthetic; but we’re ready for you to test our interpretation of what artists can do when they work together

  • Artists of color, with disabilities, and/or LGBTQ-identified are especially encouraged to apply


A completed online application and résumé/experience summary must be received by the deadline of Thursday, December 14th at 11:59pm. Paper applications can be made available by request, and can be downloaded to be printed and mailed to Patrick’s Cabaret at PO Box 8096, Minneapolis, MN 55408. If you would like to drop off the application in-person, please allow at least a week ahead of the deadline to arrange a drop-off. Applications must be received by the deadline, please provide plenty of time to allow for mailing or dropping off. Applicants will be notified of decisions by Wednesday, December 20th.

Patrick’s Cabaret staff are available by email or phone if you need assistance to complete the application. This service is intended to provide access for people with disabilities, applicants for whom English is a second language, and/or others who face additional barriers. We prefer that if you can, please complete the online application, but inquiring about or receiving additional assistance will not affect the consideration of your application in any way. For example if you have difficulty typing we can record your verbal answers to the questions posed. Please contact us via email ( or desk phone (612-724-6273) to make inquiries or set up a time to chat in-person or via phone.

A completed application includes:

  • Completed Application - As noted above, this application will be accepted online, on paper via mail, or through another method as needed by the application date. Find the online application at

A résumé or other summary (up to 1 page) describing your work, volunteer, education, and creative history as it relates to the curatorship opportunity. You may submit a link to your Mn Artists profile/résumé and/or LinkedIn profile instead (no length limit on digital content). This should be emailed to after completing the online application, or included with your paper application.