Making Theatre for Children
The Children’s Theatre Company is the leading theatre in North America serving families and young people from tots to teens. Prior to the renovation, the Theatre’s energy and creativity were masked by the relatively blank facades of the 1970s wing that it occupies at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In addition to meeting the technical needs of a professional theatre, MGA&D’s mission was to motivate and excite young performers and audiences to the magic of theatre. We designed the new lobby as a dramatic multi-story space with luminous glass walls and a roof lantern, which instantly creates a dynamic presence on the arts campus. Inside, a wooden frame reassembled from the former Big Jo Flour Mill that once stood on the banks of the Mississippi River becomes an imaginative backdrop for improvisation and events.
Solving the Theatre’s Pragmatic Needs
While the new lobby is the iconic face of the renovations, the project included new and remodeled theatres and rehearsal halls, including the 720-seat mainstage and the Cargill Stage, a new 288-seat highly configurable black box theatre. Backstage facilities included expanded shops for scenery, props and costumes and dressing rooms. A new Ground Floor education wing has four classrooms, a multi-purpose presentation space, a new dance studio and a parent-student lounge. With the new facilities, the Theatre Company serves 300% more young people and families than the original building.