Ten Thousand Things Artistic Director Michelle Hensley to Retire

The founder and artistic director will leave the theatre at the end of the 2017-18 season.

MINNEAPOLIS: Ten Thousand Things Theater Company has announced that Michelle Hensley will step down as artistic director at the end of the 2017-18 season. Hensley founded the company in Los Angeles in 1989 and moved to the Twin Cities in 1993.

Michelle Hensley

“It has been the joy of my life to create Ten Thousand Things with all our wonderful audiences over the past 29 years, and to see our unique vision for theatre now spreading out around the country,” Hensley said in a statement. “As I approach age 60, I believe there is another chapter waiting in my life. I don’t know what it is, but I am excited to start exploring! I am utterly confident in the fantastic artists, staff, and board members who understand TTT so well and give it such stability, as well as excited about the possibilities new leadership will bring.”

Ten Thousand Things has put together a transition committee of board members, staff, and artists who have been working for more than a year on planning for the transition and naming a replacement for Hensley. During her time at the helm of the company, Hensley brought productions to underserved communities in the Twin Cities area and has made paying a living wage to artists a priority.

“Thanks to Michelle’s inspired vision and tireless leadership, TTT has brought high-quality theatre to thousands of diverse audience members since our founding in 1990,” said board chair Cindy Kaiser in a statement. “With her guidance, we’ve increased our annual performances from 12 to 98 and grown our annual audiences from 800 to nearly 8,000. We’ve insisted on fair compensation for our artists and staff, championed new plays and playwrights, and promoted artists of color and gender-inclusive casting. Our annual operating budget has grown from $13,000 to more than $750,000.”

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