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Tricklock Company to close doors

Tricklock Company members Elsa Menendez and Juli Hendren at Santiago a Mil in Chile in 2017. The theater announced its closure on Friday. (Courtesy of Tricklock Company)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Something has to end in order for something to begin again.

That was the sentiment running through Tricklock Company as it announced on Friday it would be closing.

“It’s been incredibly hard,” said Juli Hendren, the theater’s executive director, of the decision to close. “In a way, it’s a little bit out of our control. We couldn’t have predicted the virus.”

The theater company began in 1993 – in a garage.

In its 27 years, Tricklock was known not only for its local community outreach, but for bringing the world to Albuquerque with its popular Revolutions International Theatre Festival. The monthlong event drew between 3,500 and 5,000 guests annually.

Tricklock at Revolutions 2020 before canceling in March. The company announced Friday it will close. (Courtesy of Douglas Brandt)

This year’s festival had just begun in March when it was cut short by the pandemic. Organizers scrambled to get many of the international performers back home before restrictions were set.

Hendren said if the pandemic had hit later and Revolutions was able to complete its run, Tricklock might have survived.

“Losing so much of our income by not being able to complete the festival while still carrying most of the expense of the festival was just too much,” Hendren said. “Tricklock has weathered many storms and we always find a way through, but that way through is often possible because the people in Tricklock make huge sacrifices to make it happen.”

Tricklock did apply for financial help, both on the state and federal level, but it wasn’t enough.

According to Hendren, the company will shut its doors and cease full programming as of August, as there are a few projects it is completing. Tricklock also will close its T-Lab space in Downtown Albuquerque at the end of the year.

The company will begin looking at the possibilities of reopening as a re-imagined, smaller-scale entity as early as 2022.

“I feel optimistic that we’ll come back in a different version,” Hendren said. “If we do anything in 2021, it will be the Manoa Project, which we can raise money for. The Manoa Project and Revolutions are the two events that anchor us. I know that I’m invested in those.”

The Manoa Project is a high school theater apprenticeship program.

Elsa Mendendez has been a member of Tricklock for 20 years and recognizes that it’s an ending to this chapter.

She said her takeaway is an awareness of who the company is and how it built relationships with the city, state and international theater companies.

“Being part of Tricklock is a huge part of my identity,” Menendez said. “It feels really clear that it must end because everything is uncertain. We don’t know when theaters are going to be opened again and funding is limited.”

Menendez said having the opportunity to build relationships with the local community helped Tricklock survive.

“The devotion and the commitments between the companies and the studios, it’s kind of beautiful what we created,” Menendez said. “There’s such a strong artistic community in Albuquerque. We’ve benefitted from other arts organizations with collaborations and connections. That’s a strength of the city. Our love for Albuquerque is so profound. We wanted the world to meet Albuquerque, and to use theater and performing arts as a vehicle has been such a gift.”

Tricklock Company is known for putting on The Dely Project. (Courtesy of Tricklock Company)

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