We need your support now more than ever.

Give to The Garden

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing you today because we, Open Flame Theatre, are at the moment where we need your help, specifically in the form of financial support. 

For 2-3 years we have been working on our next performance, (sequel to The Wastelands) called The Garden. Part two of our “Rewilding Cycle”, The Garden is a queer, experimental opera about the roots of systemic oppression in all its forms, focusing specifically on transphobia. This performance is being concieved, composed, created and directed by our all- transgender and gender non-conforming ensemble. The Garden follows a queer witch, Hayden, who journeys into the underworld to barter with the Devil to save the soul of a friend after her tragic death, caused by a transphobic hate crime. In a journey packed with song, encounters with acrobatic demons, and death defying trials Hayden discovers that the Devil is nothing like what they have been lead to believe…

 All the pieces are in place to make this performance a reality. We have a rehearsal space, we have set and lighting designers (also queer artists) who are already deep in the process of the visual design of the show, and we have secured a venue for the premiere, the historic and gorgeous Southern Theater in Minneapolis.

Your support is vital, especially for us, especially right now. At the time of this writing, the Supreme Court is deciding if it is legal to fire transgender and gender non-conforming people just for being trans and GNC. Open Flame is one of a very few number of theatre organizations that employs almost exclusively trans and GNC people. All of us in the ensemble have struggled with employment because we transgress gender norms. In 2019, the stakes are high for us as a transgender and GNC ensemble. We are making this performance because it is vital to our survival. We need more stories told by trans artists and we need them now. These are dangerous times to be transgender; there have already been so many murders of transgender people this year that the WHO has declared trans murders “an epidemic”. The truth of our reality is harrowing, and in order to confront the violence in the outside world, we must confront the violence we perpetuate against ourselves internally. Just as Hayden does, creating this show requires going deep within ourselves to understand, bear witness to, and harness our own power so that we may survive and even thrive in the horrors and dangers of our day to day reality. 

Please help us make this performance a reality, and be able to pay ourselves for the labor it takes to create it. 

One cannot escape from The Garden by running from or denying one’s fears. The only way to conquer our fears is to face them. The only way out of hell is through it.


Walken Schweigert

Founder & Artistic Director

Open Flame Theatre

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