The Hennepin Theatre Trust is moving down the street, and building a new performance space. The organization will fashion new offices in the City Center at the end of this month and build an adjacent 300-seat theater. Publicist Karen Nelson said the move is part of the Trust’s mission to help revitalize Hennepin Avenue. The nonprofit, which manages the city’s big downtown theaters, has been looking for new space that would accommodate offices and develop a flexible-seating performance space.
The new space will be called "New Century Theatre," in homage to the Century Theatre — one of four historic theaters on that block of Hennepin and 7th St. Performances might begin as early as September, though Nelson said, "sometime next fall" might be a safer bet. Programming would be similar to what the Trust offered at Hennepin Stages, such as "Girls Only," the "Don’t Hug Me" franchise and other local collaborations still in the works. Nelson said the Trust will also use the space for the Spotlight Musical Theatre program, cabarets, workshops and Broadway Confidential series. Nelson didn't have any drawings handy Thursday afternoon. She said the space will be on the ground floor at City Center, across from the big lobby on 6th Street.
Hennepin Stages was sold this spring to Brave New Workshop, which will redevelop that space in advance of a fall opening.
Opening in 1908 as a 2,000-seat vaudeville house called the Miles, the older theater was rebuilt several times and was eventually dubbed the Century Theatre in 1929. It closed and reopened more often than a screen door at summer camp until it was retooled to 1,145 seats and transformed into the Century Cinerama in the mid 1950s. "Cleopatra" in 1963 and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" were two of the final movies shown there. The Century burned in 1964 and was bulldozed the following year.