In 2010, The Peanut Butter Factory was accidentally born when a troupe of short-form improvisors bowed out of the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
The slot (along with the name) was picked up by a solo performer, who went on to produce an original work to a warm reception. So warm, in fact, that he produced another solo piece under the same name at next year's Fringe Festival. In the interim, a freelance director used the name to produce a playwright she had been enamored with for quite a while, also to a pretty nice response.
It became clear, even in the company's infancy, there was no artistic direction behind the name – it was simply a straw man that made the art easier to talk about to the Minneapolis/St. Paul press and public. But was that such a bad thing? they thought. In a community that's truly blessed to have so many theatre companies, there was still no organization that spoke to the needs of the independent, unaffiliated theatre artists of Minnesota. So, just like L. Frank Baum did in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, they gave the straw man a brain.
The Peanut Butter Factory is a Twin Cities-based producing company, dedicated to supporting the work of Minnesota's unaffiliated theatre artists and raising new awarenesses to Minnesota audiences. We believe that artists, at the end of the day, don't want to be administrators – they want to be artists. We believe that audiences would rather be educated about an upcoming production than "sold" it. We believe that everyone should be able to appreciate a piece of theatre, even if they don't particularly like it.
More than anything, we believe that theatre artists shouldn't have to start their own company just to see their work realized. Sometimes, all they need is a little help.
That's where we come in.