Regina Marie Williams as Prospera in THE TEMPEST


January 26, 2023
Press release #1845

For more information, contact:
Elizabeth Deacon


In a year marked by the return of in-person programming, pandemic-related challenges and organizational regrowth, the Guthrie demonstrated adaptability and strength

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) — The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) today released its annual report highlighting artistic successes and pandemic-related challenges that marked the 2021–2022 fiscal year, which ended on August 31, 2022. The season saw the return of in-person performances for the first time since March 2020, an all-new production of A Christmas Carol, the return of former Artistic Director Joe Dowling and a world-premiere adaptation of Emma. Due to historic federal support, the theater achieved a modest operating surplus of $8,575 on a $25.5 million budget. Across six mainstage productions, total attendance during the 2021–2022 Season was 162,928, including 31,590 free or subsidized tickets, maintaining the Guthrie’s commitment to student matinees and financial accessibility.

Artistic Director Joseph Haj stated, “The Guthrie experienced many challenges as we navigated — and continue to navigate — new realities brought on by the global pandemic. We remain committed to bringing compelling and thought-provoking work to our stages and engaging with our community in meaningful ways.” He continued, “Throughout the season, we also remained committed to living our core values, including an intentional focus on anti-racism and diversity. We know there is still much work to be done, and we are dedicated to being part of the necessary conversations and actions to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, both on and off the stage.”

With nearly $7 million in ticket revenue and $7.8 million in contributed revenue — independent of COVID-19 relief funding — along with a stable endowment from which the Guthrie drew a standard 4.5% ($2.3 million), Guthrie staff worked to uphold the theater’s core value of Fiscal Responsibility during a time of uncertainty and rebuilding.

Managing Director James Haskins added, “The Guthrie successfully reopened its doors in fall 2021 in no small part due to the balance of the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, originally co-authored as the Save Our Stages legislation by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Texas Senator John Cornyn. Through the ebbs and flows of a season that saw cancellations, added expense for regular COVID-19 testing and staffing, and market volatility, Guthrie staff worked diligently with the board of directors to manage the organization’s finances toward a modest surplus at the close of FY22.”

Support from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant was vital in allowing the Guthrie to produce six mainstage plays during the 2021–2022 Season, beginning with Heidi Schreck’s topical What the Constitution Means to Me — the first production on a Guthrie stage since March 2020. Next, the theater offered its 47th production of A Christmas Carol, a world-premiere adaptation by Lavina Jadhwani, directed by Joseph Haj. Despite health and safety concerns, staffing shortages and supply chain delays, the show’s creative team realized a stunning rendition of the holiday classic with new scenery, costumes, lighting, sound and choreography.

Faced with the introduction of the COVID-19 omicron variant, the Guthrie navigated abrupt scheduling changes midseason, including the cancellation of the final two performances of A Christmas Carol, the postponement of A Raisin in the Sun due to COVID-19 cases within the company and the cancellation of Destiny of Desire due to pandemic-related scheduling conflicts. Following a brief programming hiatus, the Guthrie resumed performances with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, helmed by former Artistic Director Joe Dowling and featuring Regina Marie Williams in the role of Prospera. The Guthrie also hosted its annual Shakespeare Classic for the first time since 2019 and welcomed thousands of young theatergoers to student matinees.

During the rescheduled run of A Raisin in the Sun, the Guthrie collaborated with multiple community organizations across the Twin Cities to address themes of equity and social justice through lobby displays and post-play discussions. In addition, a performance was captured on film to be shared with Minnesota educators for free in 2023, giving even more students access to Hansberry’s essential American play. The Guthrie’s mainstage season continued with a vibrant world premiere of Emma, Kate Hamill’s feminist take on the Jane Austen classic, and closed with Lynn Nottage’s powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Sweat.

After a two-year hiatus, A Guthrie Experience for M.F.A. actors and theatermakers welcomed 10 rising artists to the Guthrie in June 2022 for seven weeks of intensive training and performance. The company presented Valor — a feminist, plot-twisting drama by celebrated 17th-century Spanish playwright Ana Caro — in the Dowling Studio.

From September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022, the theater hired 159 new and returning employees. The theater also engaged in committee-driven processes to identify an Outsourced Chief Investment Officer to manage the theater’s endowment; a new hospitality management partner to resume and provide onsite food and beverage service; and a public space inclusion consultant to develop strategies to help make the Guthrie more welcoming and inclusive for all.

Land Acknowledgment
The Guthrie Theater would like to acknowledge that it resides on the traditional land of the Dakota People and honors with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations, including the Ojibwe and other Indigenous nations.

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) is an American center for theater performance in Minneapolis, Minnesota, celebrating 60 years of artistic excellence during its 2022–2023 Season. Under Haj’s leadership, the Guthrie has continued its dedication to producing a mix of classic and contemporary plays and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Since its founding in 1963, the theater has set a national standard for excellence in the field and served the people of Minnesota as a vital cultural resource. The Guthrie houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms, restaurants and dramatic public spaces.