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Back From the Brink, In the Heart of the Beast Names Corrie Zoll Executive Director

The impressively bearded administrator joins the venerable puppet company to help steer it in a fiscally responsible direction.

MINNEAPOLIS: Corrie Zoll has been named the new executive director of In the Heart of the Beast Mask and Puppet Theatre (HOBT), which experienced a financial crisis last year that forced the company to shed programs and staff.

Corrie Zoll

Zoll previously worked in development at Pillsbury House Theatre. He received a degree in theatre from Grinnell College in Iowa, and a masters in arts management from Saint Mary’s University. Zoll has written, directed, and performed in plays in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. He is known in the Twin Cities for having twice won the Minnesota Beard-Off for his facial hair.

“It’s an honor and privilege to serve an organization that has been such a vital part of the community I’ve lived in for the last 20 years,” said Zoll in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with the team to answer the question of how an arts organization responds to the 21st century realities of arts management.”

In addition to bringing on the new executive director, HOBT has embarked on fundraising campaigns to recover from its financial crisis, which forced a one third cut in the company’s $750,000 budget.

“Heart of the Beast has this incredible wealth of artistic vision and community investment,” said board president  Kristin Wiegmann in a statement. “But for an organization to be healthy, there’s got to be a careful balance between the business, the vision, the finances, administration, and artistry. We’ve had imbalances in the past but are trying to develop solid systems to help the artistry thrive.”

Sandy Spieler, who founded the theater 41 years ago, remains as artistic director.

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