Skip to main content

Coronavirus: Guthrie Theater lays off more than 200 employees

The Guthrie's largest source of income is ticket sales. It hasn't had a performance since March.

Theaters aren't the best place for social distancing, and that's affected nearly every aspect of The Gutherie Theater in Minneapolis. 

The theater announced in a news release this week it has cut its staff by 79 percent due to adjustments it has had to make in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The very premise of theater is the gathering of people — in the audience, in the lobbies, on the stage, in the rehearsal rooms and backstage,” said Joseph Haj, the Guthrie's artistic director, in a statement. “As a producing theater, our largest source of income is ticket sales. Being unable to perform for so long is financially devastating.

"It is this significant challenge, and the resultant change in programming, that necessitates both short-term and long-term layoffs as well as the elimination of positions. It is with a heavy heart that we share the loss of so many talented, creative, hardworking and beloved colleagues," Haj added.

The Guthrie cut its staff from 262 full- and part-time people to 55. Meanwhile, the Guthrie's six-member senior management team will continue to receive 15-20 percent salary reductions, which began in March.

Marita Meinerts Albinson was the senior communications manager at the Guthrie until she was laid off on May 12. 

"Knowing that theater at its very core is about gathering people together, both on and off stage, to enjoy storytelling in real-time, it became evident as the days and weeks passed that the Guthrie would be unable to do so safely for quite some time in light of the infectious risk of coronavirus," Albinson told BMTN.

"And because the uniqueness of the Guthrie is that the productions are all built on site (sets, costumes, props, wigs, etc.) with people working in close proximity, I sensed that the pandemic would really impact the theater as a whole.

"I believe most of us knew that changes to staffing would be inevitable, but the reality of how many talented people had to be let go is indeed shocking," she added.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

These layoffs come after the theater in April canceled the remainder of the 2019-2020 season and earlier this month reduced its 2020-2021 season budget by 60 percent, from $31 million to about $12.6 million.

Originally, it was set to include 10 plays starting in September, but it's been reduced to three plays between March-August 2021.

“I look forward to the day when we can safely welcome audiences and artists back to the Guthrie,” Haj said in the release. “If we can open before March, we will make every effort to do so."

Next Up

Image (1)

School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Sound of shots, mass panic at Richfield football game streamed live on YouTube

Gunfire caused panic at a varsity football game Friday night.

J. Gordon

K-9 search leads to $36K fentanyl seizure during traffic stop

A traffic stop was made after the vehicle was seen speeding through the area.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 5.20.08 PM

Gov. Walz reacts to Tuesday death of Mankato West student

The governor is a former geography teacher at the high school.

court room

Teen pleads guilty to Minneapolis carjacking, admits to others

The man was yanked out of the vehicle by witnesses before fleeing the scene.

Federal court house

Three plead guilty to roles in murder on Red Lake Reservation

The 2019 murder left another person seriously injured.

image

Sheriff: Heifer shot and butchered on farmer's pasture near Aitkin

Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to call the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office.

SwearegeneMugDouglasCoJail

Minneapolis murder suspect arrested in Wisconsin

The man has been wanted by police since the shooting happened in April.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Charges: Man kidnapped woman at gunpoint, forced her to withdraw $1,500

The 56-year-old suspect is accused of forcing the woman to the Seward neighborhood in Minneapolis.

police lights

Police arrest suspect in Oakdale after 10-hour standoff

The standoff with police lasted over 10 hours Friday.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 9.43.31 AM

Guthrie Theater to close for rest of 2020, only 3 plays booked for 2021

The celebrated Minneapolis theater won't re-open till March next year.

The Guthrie - virtual A Christmas Carol

The Guthrie's virtual telling of 'A Christmas Carol' available starting next week

This marks the 46th consecutive year the Guthrie has produced the Charles Dickens' holiday classic.

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 9.43.31 AM

Guthrie Theater cancels rest of its 2019/20 season

Several productions scheduled for this spring and summer have been canceled.

Guthrie theater

Guthrie to reopen to the public in July, shows resume this fall

The theater has been closed to the public for more than a year.

Guthrie theater

Guthrie apologizes to theatergoers over audience member's racist rant

The racist tirade happened before a performance of 'A Christmas Carol.'

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 9.43.31 AM

Guthrie Theater to stage rare trio of Shakespeare plays

It's been 30 years since the theater first staged Shakespeare's History Cycle.

Flickr - Guthrie Theater exterior - Ken Lund

Viral video: Guthrie show delayed by audience member’s racist rant

It is the Minneapolis theater's first in-house production since the shutdown in March 2020.