The Guthrie Theater has been a Minneapolis institution for over half a century, but its present-day modern building, which resembles a grain silo, was erected in 2006. The productions staged here and the tours of the building will transport you into a world of classic theater.
Sir Tyrone Guthrie, the theater’s founder, was tired of the commercialization of Broadway. He wanted to establish a theater company that remained loyal to the classics, with performers who maintained traditional acting standards. He started his legacy in 1963 with one of the most classic stage productions: Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Guthrie passed away in 1971, but his dream lives on.
The Guthrie Theater still favors classical productions by Shakespeare, with many plays and events dedicated to his famous scripts. However, since the 1980s the directors have pushed for more modern and artistic performances to be included.
The sleek design of the modern theater is by Jean Nouvel. The French architect has modeled the midnight-blue building to fit in with the river landscape and history of grain in the Mill District. The lobby, known as the Endless Bridge, is an observatory-style space that “hangs” over West River Parkway and has great views of the Mississippi River.
Performances are held almost every day on one of three stages. To keep a certain degree of intimacy between the actors and audience, no seat is more than 15 rows or 52 feet (16 meters) away from the stage.
Guthrie Theater is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. Expect to pay a considerable parking fee during events and local Viking football games. Backstage tours are scheduled Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. You can take an architecture tour or a tour of the nearby CostumeRentals, which is the name of their warehouse, on the first Saturday of every month. To order tickets for a performance or tour, visit the Guthrie Theater website.