Six Points Theater Kicks Off 30th Year With Annual Benefit

Barbara Brooks, a New York City transplant with a background including acting and educating, was driven by a unique vision when creating Six Points Theater: To use the arts as a means to bridge cultural divides and start conversations around social issues.

“When I moved here from New York City, I felt the stark contrast in the community dynamics. There were undercurrents of racism and segregation that were very different from what I was used to,” she said.

“I also noticed that there was [a large] undercurrent of racism. Not just against Jews, but against many people of different cultural backgrounds,” Brooks said.

That was in 1994, now, Six Points Theater – formerly known as the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company – is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a benefit event on June 18 that promises to be a night of reflection, entertainment, and community engagement.

Brooks shared that the social environment spurred her to action. Her response was to create a space where different narratives could coexist and educate. Brooks has a background in music therapy, which helped inspire the theater’s creation.

“Coming from this background where you use music to facilitate everyday life… I thought perhaps theater could do that,” she said.

Brooks shared a memory from one of the theater’s most significant productions, “Rose” by Martin Sherman. 

“It’s a beautiful play. where a woman comes out and sits on a bench, and she’s sitting Shiva… And at the end, you find out she’s actually sitting Shiva for a Palestinian girl that her grandson killed in a skirmish,” she said.

This production, she said, exemplifies the theater’s commitment to showcasing tough, relevant themes that challenge audiences to think deeply about history and identity.

Over the years, Six Points Theater has extended its educational outreach, notably through its Hanukkah holiday play. 

“For many years, for about 20 years, we did a Hanukkah holiday play… we served thousands and thousands and thousands of preschool and elementary school kids,” Brooks said. 

As Six Points Theater looks toward the future, the upcoming benefit at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul more than just a fundraiser; it’s a celebration of past achievements and a vital step toward securing the theater’s future. The evening will feature Six Points artists Avi Aharoni, David Coral, Elizabeth Efteland, Laura Esping, and Sally Wingert performing pieces from significant plays that have marked each decade of the theater’s operation.

Brooks invites the community to participate in the celebration and support the theater’s mission.

“They’ll get to know us better. They’ll have a lot of fun, and they’ll be supporting the organization in a much-needed way,” she said.