Looking for a megaphone, a magnifying glass or a paper diner hat? St. Paul's Theater Mu is having a rummage sale

Kathy Berdan, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
·3 min read

Apr. 7—Spring cleaning and sorting reveals a bunch of old glassware, some holiday decorations, an umbrella, a hammer, oven mitts and a tote bag or two. The usual. It's time to haul it all out to the driveway for a rummage sale.

Oh, but you also have a Styrofoam head, a megaphone, a tiki torch, a hula hoop, a school desk, delicate paper fans, some fancy fabric and a bunch of never-used chicken buckets.

This rummage sale has a twist, courtesy of St. Paul's Theater Mu.

A couple of months into the pandemic, theater staff took a look at the company's space on Prior Avenue.

"We couldn't be in there, and the place could use a deep clean," said Mu's programs manager Audrey Park. "We'd accumulated a lot of these things we didn't think we could use any more."

There were props and costumes, office supplies and decorations.

In keeping with Mu's mission, Park says, they thought about their community first — "our audience, artists, tech people." They decided a rummage sale was in order.

But Park points out that it's not a "sale."

The items were photographed and posted online. Those interested could claim them and can pick them up this weekend. "If our community finds a need for it and people find some joy in it and want to give back, we're happy to accept a donation."

Park and Mu's marketing and communications director Kevin Duong posed with the items — very serious models pushing a broom, using a prop megaphone or strumming a prop guitar.

"I don't know why the photos have been a thing," Park laughs, but it was a way to deal with "the drear of it all — the emotional weight. It was our way of letting off some joy."

The pair pondered — and solemnly display — the best way to hold a chair or a hula hoop.

There's some nostalgia with the joy.

Longtime Mu actor Eric "Pogi" Sumangil told Park that a rickety black folding table had been with the company since the beginning of Mu in 1992. Park recognized some of the costumes in the sale from Mu's popular staging of "Into The Woods" in 2012. And there was a costume with Park's name on it (she's also a well-known Twin Cities actor), but she couldn't remember which show she'd worn it in.

There's also some Twin Cities theater memorabilia in the rummage sale, including a pair of stemmed glasses from the dearly departed Ivey Awards, which were presented locally from 2004 to 2018.

Many of the items were snatched up by other theater companies in town. (Those paper chicken buckets and paper diner caps may be coming to a stage near you in the future.)

Mu staff was surprised by the interest in the castoff items, Park says. The sale went beyond patrons and theater makers. Though a few new items have been added this week, many of the pieces have already been claimed. To take a look at the inventory, hours for pickup (and those most-serious photos of Park and Duong), go to theatermu.org.

Like all Twin Cities theater companies, Mu has been sidelined to virtual productions since the COVID shutdown in March 2020. But like all Twin Cities theater companies, they're hoping and planning for a return to live shows.

And when they do, the office and studio will be cleared of clutter and ready to roll.