The Guthrie Theater opened in 1963 with a production of Hamlet directed by the theater’s founder, Sir Tyrone Guthrie. In contrast to for-profit theaters operating in the highly commercial environment of Broadway, as a nonprofit resident theater company with strong community support, the Guthrie could focus on producing great works of dramatic literature, cultivating the talents of established and emerging artists, and nourishing the widest possible audience. After 20 years of leadership, Joe Dowling will step down as the Guthrie’s seventh artistic director in 2015. During his tenure, Dowling has directed more than 45 productions, commissioned more than 30 new works and cultivated relationships with acclaimed artists from around the globe. In addition, Dowling expanded educational offerings for K-12 and college students, added professional actor training programs for undergraduate and graduate students, and made the Guthrie a national leader in providing services that make its productions accessible to people with disabilities and financial barriers to participation. The Guthrie built a new multistage theater center on the banks of the Mississippi River in 2006, a facility which has allowed the Guthrie to expand its own repertoire and present the work of diverse local and international companies. The new theater also serves as a public gathering place and hub for dialogue inspired by the work on its stages.
For Shakespeare in American Communities, Guthrie Theater will present student matinees of A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Artistic Director Joe Dowling. The company will provide related educational activities, including workshops, presentations, residencies, post-play discussions, and a play and study guide. They anticipate reaching 110 schools from Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.