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The Guthrie Theater Pushes Opening to March 2021 and a Truncated Three Show Season

Stage Directions • Industry News • May 13, 2020

The Guthrie Theater from Gold Medal Park. Photo by Mark Vancleave

May 9 – As reported by the Minneapolis’ newspaper Star Tribune, the Guthrie Theater has moved its reopening until March 2021, created a budget that has been reduced by 60% for its upcoming season, trimmed two-thirds of its plays down to three productions for 2021. It will be the first time in 46 years that the Guthrie will not produce its annual Christmas Carol.

The theater’s board met Friday evening to approve a $12.6 million budget, replacing the $31 million approved in March. Instead of the nine shows that were to begin in September, now planned is a three-show season that will run from March to August, with all plays on the Guthrie’s 1,100 seat Wurtele Thrust Stage. In a letter to staff, artistic director Joseph Haj mentioned furloughs and permanent job cuts to be announced next week and said the three-show season could be increased if it becomes safe for audiences and artists to gather sooner.

The new plan is to produce Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, which had been scheduled to conclude the 2019-20 season this summer, as well as the comedy Private Lives, originally scheduled for this September. The third play has not yet been announced.

In his letter, Haj noted that the Guthrie opened in 1963 with a four-show season, “and from those four shows we grew. We will grow again and we will thrive again.”

You can read the entire story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The Guthrie Theater, which opened on May 7, 1963, posted a heart-felt video message from Artistic Director Haj on the resilience and need for theater. In this video, Haj speaks eloquently about the future of theater and why nothing can replace the centuries-old tradition of gathering together:

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