Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Children's Theatre ready to unveil its new space

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The expansion of the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis was built onto the front of the existing building. The $24 million upgrade includes more space for performances, education programs and storage. (MPR Photo/Jeff Jones)
The Children's Theatre Company officially opens its new performance space this weekend in Minneapolis. The $24 million expansion is infused with vivid, playful colors and is full of natural light.

Minneapolis, Minn. — The expansion is built onto the front of the CTC's existing building, next to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Architect Michael Graves designed the new space, including a flexible-use theater to complement the company's existing main stage. The new "Cargill Stage" will allow the CTC to increase the number of plays it produces from six to 10 each year.

Theater officials hope to attract an even wider variety of young people by expanding the variety of programs aimed at both toddlers and teenagers.

The project includes a 45,000-square-foot expansion of The Children's Theatre Company and a renovation of the existing 1974 facility.

The basement level includes a new education wing with four classrooms, a multipurpose presentation space, and a new dance studio.

Besides the new flexible theater space, the first floor includes an expanded scene shop and a dedicated lobby featuring a 40-foot tall wooden sculpture.

The timber structure was designed by Michael Graves and Associates and inspired by the Globe Theatre in London. The timbers are reclaimed from what was the Big Joe Flour Mill in Wabasha, Minnesota. They were sent to an artist in Bitterroot, Montana to be milled and fitted together into the structure.

The third and fourth floors include expanded prop and costume shops, a new rehearsal hall, a renovated dance studio and new administrative offices.

MPR's Tom Crann took a tour of the Children's Theatre Company expansion with CTC Managing Director Teresa Eyring. To listen to their interview, choose the audio link in the right column.

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