At its 2019 annual meeting in November, the Guthrie Theater leadership reflected upon the artistic and financial successes of its 2018–2019 season, which ended on August 31. In a season that featured a world premiere by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, as well as six female directors and many diverse casts who expanded storytelling through unique voices and perspectives, the theater achieved an operating surplus of $23,984 on a $27.8 million budget. It saw an increase in both the number of donors and subscribers supporting the organization, demonstrating continued financial health. The number of Guthrie donors grew to 6,591 in the 2018–2019 season, marking an increase of 8 over the previous year. In addition to seeing an increase in its donor base, the Guthrie also increased its total number of subscribers to 17,922.
Artistic Director Joseph Haj said, “I believe the Guthrie is at its best when it is many things to many people, and the strides we made during the 2018–2019 season to enhance our artistry, reflect our values and connect with the community were remarkable. This steadfast commitment to growth in these areas makes me proud to lead this incredible organization and serve our community.”
The total attendance in the 2018–2019 season was 353,392. Of that number, 84,770 patrons (24 percent) utilized free or subsidized tickets, maintaining the Guthrie’s commitment to accessibility with a significant focus on K–12 students. Furthering its pursuit of equity, diversity and inclusion, the Guthrie held its first relaxed performance — designed for patrons, families and students who may benefit from a more relaxed and judgment-free theatergoing experience — during A Christmas Carol in November 2018.
Although relaxed performances are open to all patrons, they are intentionally modified to accommodate patrons with sensory and vestibular sensitivities, anxiety, dementia, autism spectrum disorders, learning differences or challenges attending the theater.
The Guthrie Education Network continued to expand its reach beyond the Twin Cities, embedding Guthrie teaching artists in Cloquet High School to build programming. As a whole, Guthrie teaching artists spent 2,500 hours in 10 Minnesota public schools.
The 2018–2019 season closed with 29 productions and 528 performances across three stages.
At its annual meeting, the Guthrie Board of Directors elected officers: James L. Chosy (executive vice president and general counsel, U.S. Bancorp) was elected chair; Martha Goldberg Aronson (former executive vice president and president of global healthcare, Ecolab, Inc.) was elected past chair; Joseph Haj (artistic director, Guthrie Theater) was elected director; Audrey Lucas (senior partner, McKinsey & Company) was elected treasurer; and Jennifer Reedstrom Bishop (chair, Gray Plant Mooty Health Law & Nonprofit Organizations Practice Group) was elected secretary.