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Play on Hormel strike to premiere at Children’s Theatre Company

The Children’s Theatre Company in the Twin Cities announced its 2019-2020 season lineup, and one of the productions may hit close to home in the Austin community.

“Spamtown, USA,” written by playwright Philip Dawkins and directed by Will Davis, will unfold on the Cargill Stage on Feb. 16, 2020, through April 5, 2020. The play revolves around the 1985 Hormel Strike in Austin.

“You’ve read the story of the 1985 Hormel strike in Austin, Minnesota, but this is what wasn’t printed in the newspapers; the families, the kids and the idealized town where everything was fine … but was it?” the play’s synopsis reads. “A moving portrait of families divided, where confrontation was the new normal, and where children’s dreams of fashion school, tennis competitions and science projects were interrupted by arguments and ethical questions. This is the story of the hurt that comes when you’re forced to take sides, the hope that comes in surprising alliances, and the laugh-out-loud humor that makes every situation possible.”

Through an interview process with several Austin residents who lived through the P-9 Hormel Strike, Dawkins wrote the play through the eyes of children who were affected by both sides of the conflict during the 1980s.

“‘Spamtown, USA’ delves into what it means to stand up for what you feel is right, to fight for justice, to compromise, to refuse to compromise, and the consequences of all of this for your family,” Dawkins said. “Based on numerous interviews with those who were children during the P-9 Hormel Strike in the 1980s, this play offers an intergenerational slice of Austin, Minnesota, during that time. It is a look at the young people who were dragged (willingly or not) into their parents’ conflicts, and where that experience strengthened, harmed, stunted, or pushed them to grow. Expect dancing, head-banging music, and probably a shoulder pad or two. Come be our guest at ‘Spamtown, USA.’ We have lots to say.”

Full season subscription renewals and upgrades are on sale at https://childrenstheatre.org/subscribe or by calling 612-874-0400. New season subscriptions go on sale March 1, and include full season options to flexible packaging and value-priced preview and opening weekend packages. Single tickets will go on sale in July 2019.


Children’s Theatre Company 2019-2020 Lineup

“Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams”

  • UnitedHealth Group Stage
  • Sept. 17 through Oct. 20, 2019
  • All Ages

“Snow White”

  • Cargill Stage
  • Sept. 29 through Dec. 8, 2019
  • For Everyone 5 and Up

“Cinderella”

  • UnitedHealth Group Stage
  • Nov. 3, 2019 through Jan. 5, 2020
  • All Ages

“Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds”

  • UnitedHealth Group Stage
  • Jan. 19 through March 1, 2020
  • For Everyone 5 and Up

“The Rainbow Fish”

  • UnitedHealth Group Stage
  • March 10 through April 5, 2020
  • All Ages

“Annie”

  • UnitedHealth Group Stage
  • April 19 through June 21, 2020
  • All Ages