Duluth Playhouse announces plans to leave the Depot

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The Duluth Playhouse has announced plans to leave the Depot after being there since 1977.

“It is no secret that the pandemic has been really hard on arts organizations across the country, and we are not exempt from that,” explained Family Theatre & Education Artistic Director Amber Burns. “So that has played a role in this decision making, along with some rental increases and other things.”

“Just thinking about it, it’s sad. It’s the end of an era and we’re going to really, really miss them,” said Depot Executive Director Mary Tennis.

The Underground and Family Theatre series will finish out their current productions at the Depot as the Duluth Playhouse lease goes through December.

“The Duluth Playhouse is going to be moving the Family Theater series and the School of Performing Arts to the NorShor Theatre, and our Underground programming is going to be moving into the Zeitgeist arts building,” said Burns.

“We are thrilled about a new collaboration with our friends across the street, as The Underground series moves to Zeitgeist,” said Producing Artistic Director Phillip Fazio. “All Playhouse performances will now be located in the Historic Arts and Theatre District. By operating solely in the HART District, The Playhouse can further support the other arts organizations and businesses investing in the area.”

Although they will be operating out of two locations instead of three, none of the programming will be affected by this move

“We’re not getting rid of anything, we’re just consolidating,” Burns explained. “Keeping up with three different spaces with different microphones and sound equipment is a lot. So really, it’s more like we’re consolidating our equipment rather than our programming.”

The Duluth Playhouse is excited to move more of their programming to the NorShor.

“The NorShor stage is kind of a big deal,” said Burns. “It’s a bigger audience, a little more professional, and all of the youth and the kids in our programing are so ready for that challenge. I’m so excited to see what this is going to bring to our family programming, to our education series and, and just the playhouse in the future.”

Although sad to see them go, the Depot is thankful to have the advance notice to figure out what to do with the space that will be empty at the start of 2023.

“We’re excited for the opportunity as it brings because it will open up a lot of space in the building for perhaps other performing arts organizations to kind of apply and maybe join us here,” said Tennis.

Planning is underway for a Duluth Playhouse farewell celebration on the Depot stage.

“We will certainly miss performing in The Depot spaces that many people have called home for decades,” said Duluth Playhouse Executive Director Wes Drummond. “It’s important to remember that since its founding in 1914, The Duluth Playhouse has had many homes. We are now fortunate to have a spectacular performance space at The Norshor. The timing is right.”