ST. PAUL (AP) -- The bonding bill agreed to by legislative leaders provides money for a new Guthrie Theater and an expansion for the Children's Theatre Company -- two flagship playhouses that are basking in recent national attention.
In this week's issue, Time magazine ranked the Guthrie among the top five regional playhouses in the nation. Earlier this month, the Children's Theatre became the first youth-aimed company to be honored with a Tony Award.
The $216 million bonding bill, which was expected to pass Tuesday, includes $25 million for the Guthrie and $5 million for Children's Theatre. The improvements will continue with the imprimatur of the state, even at a time of painful cuts in health and social programs.
"This is a huge -- I mean huge -- psychological boost," Guthrie Artistic Director Joe Dowling said Monday. "We feel enormously gratified, not just by the money, but also that our state leadership has said yes to Minnesota's quality of life."
Guthrie leaders had warned that without state support, the theater's planned $125 million three-stage complex on the Mississippi riverfront, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, would be derailed. The theater has privately raised $65 million, officials said.
The Children's Theatre in south Minneapolis has embarked on a $27 million expansion to better serve teenagers, $24 million of which will be used to build a second stage. The other $3 million will be added to its $2 million endowment.
The theatre won its Tony for the best regional playhouse in the nation.
So far, the Children's Theatre has raised $15.5 million, according to Managing Director Teresa Eyring. The state funds "will make it easier to finish the job," she said. "Now we won't have to turn away kids from our educational programs, from our stages, from anything."
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