Saturday, July 11, 2020
Go to The Guthrie's new beginning
The Guthrie's new beginning
Guthrie Theater brings curtain down on original home
Groundbreaking for the Guthrie's new home
Guthrie unveils new face for its new riverfront theater
How the Guthrie Theater made it into a lean year's bonding bill
The Guthrie at 40: Facing a crossroads
Guthrie releases new design; will push for money at Legislature
Guthrie's historic designation won't stop plans
Guthrie Theater design unveiled
Joe Dowling talks about the arts during tough times
Architect Ralph Rapson at 91
Hume Cronyn in conversation at the Guthrie


A timeline of the Guthrie Theater
The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis closes a chapter in its history this weekend, with the final performance of "Hamlet" at its longtime home on Vineland Place. Next month, it will move to a new and expanded facility along the Mississippi River. Here are some highlights of the Guthrie's rich history.

1959 Sir Tyrone Guthrie and 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.
1960 Out of seven interested communities, Minneapolis/St. Paul was chosen as the home of the Guthrie. Land behind the Walker Art Center was donated, and a local steering committee raised $2.2 million to build the Guthrie Theater.
1963 The Guthrie Theater is completed. Designed by architect Ralph Rapson, it included a 1,441-seat thrust stage, which became one of the Guthrie's signatures. The theater opened on May 7, with a production of "Hamlet" directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie. Guthrie served as artistic director from 1963-1966, and returned yearly to direct until 1969.
1968 The Guthrie became the first resident theater to undertake a national tour, taking "The House of Atreus" and "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" to theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The Guthrie also began presenting work on smaller stages, a tradition that has continued and evolved through the years.
1970 In conjunction with the adjacent Walker Art Center, the Guthrie expanded its facility, adding rehearsal space, a set shop and offices. The remodeled space opened in 1970, with the two facilities sharing an entrance and common lobby.
1971 Sir Tyrone Guthrie died at his home in Ireland.

Michael Langham became artistic director, at a time when the Guthrie was facing serious financial problems. Langham pursued an ambitious schedule, and staged a variety of classics which were successful critically and financially. The theater's season gradually expanded, reaching 42 weeks in 1975. The touring program began modestly, and grew substantially through the 1970s and '80s.
1972 Langham opened Guthrie 2 near the University of Minnesota, to encourage new writers and explore alternative production methods. Audiences saw mainstage actors perform plays by Emily Mann, David Mamet, and Mark Medoff. The Guthrie 2 program continued until 1978.
1977 Artistic Director Michael Langham left the Guthrie. The theater hired its first American artistic director, Alvin Epstein, who held the position for 18 months.
1980 Liviu Ciulei, former artistic director of the Bulandra Theatre in Romania, was appointed to the same post at the Guthrie. Ciulei was known for his physical and daring theatrical interpretations, which was strongly influenced by Guthrie's "Hamlet," which he had seen in 1963. Ciulei's style was highly contemporary and international. He redesigned the thrust stage, so its size, shape and height were adjustable.
1982 The Guthrie Theater received a Tony Award for its outstanding contribution to the American Theater.
1985 Liviu Ciulei resigned as artistic director. He had been frustrated by two major issues -- the lack of a smaller performance space to present new and emerging works, and the inability to create an acting ensemble, primarily due to financial reasons.
1986 Garland Wright was hired as artistic director on June 1. The position's responsibilities were expanded, and Wright became the single head of the organization, responsible for all of its operations.
1987 The Guthrie board adopted a long range plan, simultaneously launching an ambitious program of artistic development and a $25 million Campaign for Artistic Excellence. The Guthrie Laboratory was created to explore and develop new performances and techniques.
1992 The Guthrie successfully completed its five-year Campaign for Artistic Excellence, receiving $26.1 million in pledges, a record for any American theater at that time.
1993 The Guthrie underwent a $3.5 million facelift.
1994 Garland Wright announced his resignation. A search began to find his successor.
1995 The Guthrie board named Joe Dowling the Guthrie's seventh artistic director. Dowling's time at the Guthrie Theater has been marked by a return to regional touring, co-productions by visiting international theater companies, collaborations with local theater companies, and his own dynamic productions of the classics.
1999 The Guthrie Theater began planning for construction of a new and expanded facility in a different location in downtown Minneapolis. The Walker Art Center, which is adjacent to the Guthrie, also had expansion plans. The Walker proposed to tear down the old Guthrie to make way for an addition to its own facility. Supporters of the old Guthrie objected, citing the building's historic significance.
2000 The Guthrie began raising money for the new theater project, estimated to cost $75 million. It asked the Legislature for $3 million in bonding money for planning purposes. The Legislature approved the request, but Gov. Jesse Ventura vetoed it.
2002 February 7: The Guthrie unveiled the design for its new facility, created by French architect Jean Nouvel.

The Guthrie returned to the Legislature with a $35 million bonding request. Lawmakers approved the request, but Gov. Ventura again vetoed it.
2003 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.
2006 March 4-May 7: The Guthrie presents "Hamlet," its last production in the old theater on Vineland Place. It brings the Guthrie full circle -- the production closes on May 7, 2006, exactly 43 years to the date of the theater's opening of "Hamlet," directed in 1963 by Sir Tyrone Guthrie.

June 24-25: Opening weekend of the new Guthrie Theater.