I am in Minneapolis for the TCG National Conference and the host theater is the brand new Guthrie. Let me start off by saying that I don't want to rain on their parade. The new Guthrie Theater is absolutely amazing--it has three performance spaces including separate thrust, proscenium and black box theaters. It is situated right on the Mississippi and is a glorious example of modern architecture. Not to mention, they have been fantastic hosts. So what seems to be the problem?
As I approached the building, I thought to myself, "what a wonderful place for experimental, new edgy work. I bet it would be fantastic to work here." Then I entered the space and I was surprised to see that their two large productions in June were George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara and the musical 1776. Neither of which would I consider bastions of modern, edgy or experimental theatre. Future productions include Private Lives, Jane Eyre, King Lear, The Seagull, A Christmas Carol, and Peer Gynt. The edgy, modern, or experimental productions when produced are for the most part confined to the smallest of the three spaces.
I know that with the opening of a new, large theater comes an increase in expenses, which demands a relatively "safe" season. However, why choose to build a brand new theater that stands as a pillar of modern, experimental architecture and program it with standard fare that you could find at any regional theater in the nation?