Overlooking the Mississippi River on the University of Minnesota's west bank, Rarig Center is the home of the theatre program in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Its four theatres provide state-of-the-art facilities for virtually every production and training need. The center, designed by Ralph Rapson, the same architect who designed the former Guthrie Theater, includes scenery, property, costume, lighting, and sound laboratories, design, voice, and movement studios, ticket and publicity offices, and student lounges and offices. Recently a state of the art digital media studio was added to the building and the design classroom has added capability for sound and digital editing as well as several CAD stations and internet access. A unique architectural feature of the center is the four-story lobby serving all four theatres.
Kilburn Arena Theatre—a 200 seat theatre in the round, the Kilburn Arena is an intimate space that features a sprung floor overtop of the original wood hexagon floor. Recent productions have included Kushner’s Angels in America, Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology, Lynn Nottage’s Las Meninas, and Nilo Cruz’s Night Train to Bolina. The Arena is named for the parents of Terence Kilburn, a long-time friend and patron of University Theatre.
Whiting Proscenium Theatre—the “Pro” as our students refer to it, is one of the most accessible and flexible spaces, lending itself to grand, large cast, presentational style performances, like our annual dance theatre concert, Dance Revolutions. Musicals also call the Pro home, having hosted such productions as Hair and Anything Goes. Another well-suited style of productions are multi-media projects like the recent Peace Crimes: The War versus the Minnesota 8, a co-production between University Theatre and the History Theatre, a professional equity theatre in downtown St. Paul. The Pro seats 420 people and is named for Frank “Doc” Whiting, the long-time director of the Minnesota Centennial Showboat.
Stoll Thrust Theatre—The Thrust is the largest of all four spaces in Rarig (460 seats) and yet, the most intimate. Designed as a ¼ scale replica of the original Guthrie Theatre, the original design also mimics the “Alpine Slope”, a section of the balcony so named for its steep rake and overhang onto the stage. The Thrust is home to classics, modern pieces and musicals, and is loved by directors because of its ability to put actors and the action out into the audience space. Recent productions have included the Rocky Horror Musical, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dario Fo’s controversial The Pope and the Witch and A Bright Room Called Day by Tony Kushner—part of the Guthrie’s recent Kushner Celebration.
Nolte Xperimental Theatre—The “X” is a flexible, black box space, managed and produced by the Xperimental Theatre Board, an all-student run organization. The X is home to original work by student playwrights, as well as classic and contemporary pieces that are directed and performed solely by students from all over campus. Seating is capped at 99 people, yet The X can be configured in a multitude of ways, due to flex seating and staging.
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