Jess Barbagallo reads to a room of experimental artists at LALA 2017
Playwright and Broadway actor Jess Barbagallo at LALA 2017


LALA Festival’s mission is to create a home for experimental artists in the Twin Cities.

LALA has three goals:

  1. Help experimental artists develop work.
  2. Build audiences for experimental art. 
  3. Foster artistic collaboration.

The second annual LALA Festival will be at the Red Eye Theater, July 23-July 29th 2018.

LALA 2018 will kickoff with LALA Camp, a 3-day bootcamp for innovative artists, and culminate in a weekend festival of experimental public performances and events. 

LALA Camp will be held at various locations around Minneapolis from July 24-26, and LALA Festival will be held at the Red Eye Theater from July 27-29. This two-part format will allow for more points of access for audiences, expanded conversations between artists, site visits and behind-the-scenes tours of local studios, galleries, and theaters, plus more time for technical rehearsals which allow artists to increase the artistic quality of their final performances.

A Growing History of Experimental Performance in Minneapolis

LALA stands for Live Art / Live Artfully. LALA Festival was founded to champion experimental live performance makers in the Twin Cities and serve as a home-base for emerging experimental artists across the country. It is a conduit between local artists and national artists who are both working at high aesthetic levels. The festival devotes particular attention to supporting and presenting artists with under-appreciated voices.

The first LALA Festival was held July 28-30, 2017 at the Red Eye Theater, Box Factory, and Fresh Oysters in Minneapolis, MN.

At LALA 2017, we asked the question: What if we did away with gatekeepers, institutions, and with the artificial divide between audiences (who are mostly artists themselves) and creators (who are also artists)?

What resulted was three days of candid public discussion, hands-on workshops, lectures, intimate readings, one-on-one interviews, informal chats, late-night happenings, blogs, essays, and performances (oh my!). Local artists spent each day in discussions with nationally-recognized innovators and curators, exchanging knowledge, practices, and problem-solving techniques.

The public was invited right into the heart of the activity, deepening their understanding of artistic process, and of the contemporary experimental art world more broadly.

Highlights from year one included:

• Boundary-pushing performances by award-winning artists including local dance trio SuperGroup, choreographer/comedian Adrienne Truscott, and filmmaker/actor Mtume Gant, and work-in-progress presentations by local emerging artists.

100+ participants of all ages and backgrounds

• 40+ artists, journalists, and academics converging for an in-depth conversation about Critics, Critique, and Criticism at Fresh Oysters Performance Research.

• 20+ artists and their children gathering for empanadas and a frank discussion about the obstacles parents of young children face to producing art.

Local icons Lisa Channer and Charles Deeter reading Broadway actor Jess Barbagallo’s new play “Analog Intimacy,” a look at a bygone era of queer family, for an audience of young queer theater makers.

• Multiple spin-off works, festivals, and collaborations between 2017 participants

2017 Performance Highlights

Performance and theater maker Adrienne Truscott poses with a crow in a dress made of hair.
A still from film maker Mtume Gants short film White Face.
A scene from Minneapolis dance trio and choreographers SuperGroup's The Painted Factory
THIS | Adrienne Truscott
Unapologetically feminist one-woman comedy about the female body that is as funny as it is brash.
White Face | Mtume Gant
Visually-striking satirical short film about a man who hates his Black skin and all the hardship that comes with it.
The Painted Factory | SuperGroup
This homage to iconic dance movements explores revolution, ghosts, boredom, infidelity, and guns.


2017 Artists
2017 Schedule