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The Guthrie Theatre

The Guthrie Theatre has brought a lot of history to the state of Minnesota. This exhibit is a huge part of history due to its great theatre shows and different cultures it has represented throughout time. It has also appeared on different TV shows over the years. It has also given many people a good education with the content of its shows.

It all started in 1959 when Sir Tyrone and his two colleagues Oliver Rea and Peter Zeisler discussed “the notion of establishing a theater company outside of New York. They were disenchanted with Broadway. They wanted to create a professional theater with a resident acting company that would perform the classics in rotating repertory”. According to Minnesota Public Radio. So with the Guthrie Theatre being so old, there is going to be a lot of history to it. Then we can jump all the way to 1982 when the Guthrie received a Tony Award for its outstanding contribution to the American Theater. Also according to Minnesota Public Radio. This was a huge accomplishment for the theatre and it brought a lot of attention to the theatre. Now we can fast forward to 2003 when the Guthrie got some re-modeling done. Minnesota Public Radio had this to say: “January: The Guthrie unveiled its final design for the new complex. The most notable difference is the exterior color, which was changed to a midnight blue. Guthrie officials launched another push at the Capitol for $35 million in bonding money to help pay for construction. June: The Legislature approved $25 million, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed it into law. September: Guthrie officials and political leaders broke ground for the new facility, the cost of which is now at $125 million”.

The design of the building is quite unique. It gets its design from a couple different sources who ultimately made up a few ideas from each and put it all together into one building. When doing research I was able to find this on Wikipedia: “The Guthrie’s design arose out of Ralph Rapson’s work with the Walker Art Center, and concepts the Walker was considering for a small auditorium near their museum. The result was a theater designed by Rapson, that seated 1,441 people when it first opened its doors in 1963.” Now 1,441 people doesn’t seem like that much to us nowadays so they have added seats to get more people to come out and watch the shows they put on. I also went on to read this from Wikipedia: “In 2006, the Guthrie finished construction of a new $125 million theater building along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. The design is the work of Jean Nouvel, along with the Minneapolis architectural firm Architectural Alliance and is a 285,000 square foot facility that houses three theaters: (1) the theater’s signature thrust stage, seating 1,100, (2) a 700-seat proscenium stage, and (3) a black-box studio with flexible seating. It also has a 178-foot cantilevered bridge (called the “Endless Bridge”) to the Mississippi which is open to visitors during normal building hours. The outside of the building’s walls are covered in large panels which display a large mural of photographs from past plays visible clearly at night.”

According to Meet Minneapolis, The Guthrie Theatre partnered with Gustavus Adolphus College to give kids in grades ten through twelve who are serious about performing or being in the field of fine arts as their career. The program mostly showed you proper techniques and how to properly read a script for a play. “The Guthrie Theater values offering distinctive educational opportunities for young actors,” says Guthrie Director of Education Louise Chalfant. “We are thrilled to be working with Gustavus Adolphus College on this project. ”The weeklong camp will be directed by Henry MacCarthy, Gustavus assistant professor of theatre and dance. It will take place at Gustavus in its state-of-the-art facilities including its 280-seat thrust stage, black box, two dance studios and several classrooms. The daily schedule will incorporate instruction in ballet, movement, voice, acting and script analysis, as well as one-on-one coaching sessions.”

In 2015, the Guthrie needed a new artistic director as Joe Dowling took his last season as the director there. He was then replaced by Joseph Haj after a very long and serious search. “The 2014–2015 season was Joe Dowling’s final as the Guthrie’s artistic director. After an extensive search, on February 17, 2015, it was announced that Joseph Haj would become the Guthrie’s eighth artistic director on July 1, 2015. With his appointment, Haj’s professional journey comes full circle as he made his Guthrie debut as an actor during the theater’s 1989–90 season.”

After all the history that has taken place at this exhibit, there are plenty of reasons to respect and thank Sir Tyrone for coming up with the idea to make this theatre. It has provided us with lots and lots of information and education for the future.

Works cited:

  1. Minnesota Public Radio. “A Timeline of the Guthrie Theatre” MPR: A Timeline of the Guthrie Theatre, May, 2006.
  2. Wikipedia. “Guthrie Theatre Production History” March 30, 2019.
  3. “A History of The Guthrie Theatre”.
  4. Guthrie Theatre. “About Us”

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