Appreciating Minneapolis’ Historic Theatres & Creative Vitality

Sign Up for Updates

hennepin-theatre-trust-photoHow do historic theatres impact a city’s creative vitality? When the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT) holds its 37th Annual Conference in Minneapolis this week, that topic will likely play a role in the overall conference theme: The Future of Creative Placemaking.

According to LHAT, this theme “focuses on how communities are using the arts and other creative assets to help shape their physical, social, and economic character.”

In this vein, the City of Minneapolis published its “Creativity Vitality Index Report 2013” this spring, intended to measure the “share of creative jobs, arts spending, and creative for-profit and nonprofit organizations.”

Some notable highlights:

  • Per-capita revenues for theatre companies and dinner theatres in Minneapolis is 14 times the national average.
  • Minneapolis’ overall CVI is 4.5 times the national average.
  • The greater Minneapolis metro area is the 6th most creatively vital metro area in the country, trailing Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston.

Like the LHAT theme, this Minneapolis report also cites “Creative Placemaking” as the current national term encompassing the impact of the arts on communities. The full 24-page Minneapolis report is available here.

Among the historic Minneapolis theatres to be highlighted during the LHAT Conference include the Orpheum, State and Pantages – all located in Hennepin Avenue’s Theatre District. For interesting background and photos of these facilities, follow the links below.

The Beaux Arts Style Orpheum Theatre had a playroom and day care off the front lobby, with eight floors ofdressing rooms backstage. The Orpheum was heralded as one of the largest vaudeville houses in the U.S.


Photo Credit: George Heinrich & Hennepin Theatre Trust

(To watch a 2.5 minute time lapse of the Orpheum’s chandelier renovation/cleaning, click here)

The Renaissance Revival Style State Theatre originally featured a glass stage floor, allowing light to be directed from below. It also boasted the city’s first rudimentary air-conditioning system and the largest movie screen west of the Mississippi when it opened in 1921.


Photo Credit: George Heinrich & Hennepin Theatre Trust

The eldest of the trio, the Pantages Theatre opened in 1916 as a vaudeville house in the Art Moderne/Beaux Arts style. Its signature stained glass dome was added six years later. In 1961, as a movie house, it previewed “West Side Story” which went on to earn ten Academy Awards.


Photo Credit: George Heinrich & Hennepin Theatre Trust


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Posts