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MINNEAPOLIS-The Children’s Theatre’s $24-million expansion project is under way along the east side of the existing building. Witcher Construction has begun work on the 45,000-sf expansion, which will give the expanded building a total of 125,000 sf.

The expansion will add a 288-seat flexible-space theater, new rehearsal space, a dance studio and dedicated classroom space for the growing theater group. The theater addition is geared primarily for programs for teenagers and preschoolers, while there will also be an education center for its theater arts training program, a new rehearsal hall and expanded prop, costume and set shops.

“Thanks to our outstanding contractor, Witcher Construction, CTC will stay fully operations throughout the construction process,” says Theresa Eyring, the Children’s Theatre’s managing director.

The CTC addition design, Michael Graves’ first major commission in the Twin Cities, is a four-story L-shaped addition that uses geometric shapes. The proposed expansion has the look of a storybook castle at one end, while the rest echoes the existing design of the white-brick building on Third Avenue and 25th Street in south Minneapolis. Japanese architect Kenzo Tange designed the original building in 1972.

Graves has had a long-time affiliation with Minneapolis-based Target Corp., a major sponsor for the Children’s Theatre. The theater has raised $21.5 million of toward the project.

The expansion will allow CTC to increase its focus on education and its reach into Greater Minnesota–both of which are already priorities for the company. The Children’s Theatre Company serves 350,000 children and families every year, nearly one-third of whom live in Greater Minnesota.

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