In April 2020, Rhiana Yazzie had an empty theater just as a new season of New Native Theatre productions was supposed to be beginning.
For the Twin Cities-based theatre company, which is dedicated to storytelling in authentic and transformative ways by creating plays and events through the lens of the Native American experience, the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardized the vital community connection New Native Theatre had forged with local artists, activists and donors.
With six employees, including Rhiana Yazzie, founder and artistic director, and Suyapa Miranda, director of operations, New Native Theatre had to find a way to keep them employed and keep the theatre top-of-mind for donors and audiences. On top of overhead costs for a shuttered theatre, the organization’s entire year-long schedule of performances was postponed indefinitely
A PPP loan from CRF gave New Native Theatre a lifeline to help the organization navigate an unknown future. Miranda kept all six employees and has shifted the theatre’s donor outreach, workshops and performances to digital channels. But the real winners are the Native American voices that will continue to be heard thanks to New Native Theatre’s PPP loan.