In a world of “fake news” and “alternative facts” who can you trust to make sense of the major issues and debates? The improv comedy team at The Theater of Public Policy, of course!
This spring, The Theater of Public Policy will host two candidates for governor, talk with Minneapolis’s chief of police, examine business large and small, and attempt to answer “Where does our trash go?” at shows every Monday in March and April.
Sounds interesting, but you might be wondering what the heck is The Theater of Public Policy (T2P2)?
They are an improv troupe with an unconventional focus.
Their shows open with with a lively conversation with a newsmaker or policy wonk. That conversation then inspires a team of the Twin Cities improvisers to create entirely spontaneous sketches based on the interview. The expert guest then answers questions from the audience before the cast dives into one last round of improv before the show wraps up.
Each show takes place at The Bryant Lake Bowl Theater on Mondays in March and April. Doors open at 6:00 pm and the show begins at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door (but if you have a Fringe button, you’ll get in for $12).
And now, a complete list of show topics and guests:
March 6 – To Serve and Reflect
Janee Harteau, Minneapolis Chief of Police
The role of police officers and their relationship with the citizens they are sworn to protect has become a dominant issue in cities across the country. In Minneapolis, Chief Janee Harteau has led the department’s 840 sworn officers since 2013. We’ll ask her about how department policies affect policing in practice, in what ways the department is trying to build relationships in the community, and whether she’s ever met McGruff the Crime Dog.
March 13 – The Auditor Always Rings Twice
Rebecca Otto, Minnesota State Auditor and DFL candidate for Governor
If you’re like most Minnesotans, each year you eagerly await the audit of your local government’s finances. But have you ever wondered who produces that thrilling page-turner of a beach read? The J.K. Rowling of Minnesota financial documents is none other than State Auditor Rebecca Otto, our guest March 13. As if being state auditor weren’t exciting enough, Otto has announced a run for a new job, Governor. We’ll ask her about both, and if she can help us reconcile these expense reports.
March 20 – Up The Amazon Without a Paddle
Olivia LaVecchia, Research Associate, Institute for Local Self Reliance
What started out as an online bookstore has wildly changed the way people get everything from toilet paper to cat toys. Amazon hasn’t just changed the way people shop, it’s changing the face of retail and labor in Minnesota and beyond. Is there a downside to being able to get 10,000 baby wipes delivered to your house in under an hour? We’ll ask Olivia LaVecchia, co-author of a report of Amazon’s effects on local communities and businesses.
March 27 – Who Needs Friends?! Diplomacy in 2017
Mary Curtin, Diplomat in Residence, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
One area where a president has wide latitude is in foreign policy. In just the first few weeks of the Trump administration, the president has thrown diplomatic norms and historical precedent to the wind. Does it matter? Are international affairs really affected by the personalities driving them? We’ll ask longtime Foreign Service officer and current Diplomat-in-Residence, Mary Curtin that and if Canada might need a resident policy improv comedy troupe.
April 3 – The Business of Business
Steve Cramer, President of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and
Jonathan Weinhagen, President of Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce
When Macy’s announced it was closing its store in downtown Minneapolis, people across the state panicked. What will become of retail in Minneapolis?! What does this say the economic climate in the Twin Cities and beyond?! WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE SKYWAYS?! We’ll ask all these questions and more of Steve Cramer and Jonathan Weinhagen.
April 10 – Welcome to Minnesota! …Wait, where are you going?!
Dr. Janine Sanders Jones, Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas
John Hardy, Field Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Best Buy
Good news: People of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities move to the Twin Cities for good jobs in large numbers. Bad news: After just a few years, they leave in much larger numbers than their Caucasian counterparts. We’ll ask our guests why Minnesota is able to attract a diverse workforce, but can’t seem to retain it. Also, what are businesses in the state doing to keep people here?
April 17 – I Wouldn’t Have to Move!
Chris Coleman, Mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota
For more than a decade, Chris Coleman has led Minnesota’s Capitol City. In that time he championed the construction of the LRT Green Line, ran a successful bid for the city to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, and was elected President of the National League of Cities. Earlier this year he announced his bid for governor of Minnesota, a job which conveniently would only be a few miles from his current offices!
April 24 – Trash Talk!
Wayne Gjerde, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Lynn Hoffman, Eureka Recycling
What happens to your trash after you’ve put it out on the curb? Whether it’s going to be recycled or put in the landfill, the story of your trash is likely more complex and winding than you might expect. We’ll ask two experts, Wayne Gjerde of the MPCA and Lynn Hoffman of Eureka Recycling to tell us The Story of Trash.
To learn more about T2P2 and to get tickets, check out their website, http://www.T2P2.net