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Photo Flash: The Guthrie Celebrates Artistic Director Joe Dowling in New York

The Guthrie Theater held a cocktail party in New York City this week to celebrate Joe Dowling and his final season at the theater. He leaves in June 2015 after 20 years and as the longest Artistic Director in the theater's history. The party was held at the home of Frank and Frances Wilkinson, board members of the Guthrie Theater. BroadwayWorld has photos from the festivities below!

Since he became the Guthrie's artistic director in 1995, Dowling has directed more than 45 productions and has cultivated relationships with an extensive roster of esteemed artists including Angela Bassett, David Esbjornson, John Guare, T.R. Knight, Ethan McSweeney, Arthur Miller, Marsha Norman, Lisa Peterson, Mark Rylance and Courtney Vance, among others. As a result of his extraordinary vision and fortitude, the Guthrie built its three-theater complex on the banks of the Mississippi River, a facility which has allowed the Guthrie to broaden its repertoire and provide audiences with a range of productions year-round, serving approximately 400,000 patrons each year. One of Dowling's objectives for the new Guthrie was realized with two theaterwide playwright celebrations -- Tony Kushner in 2009 and Christopher Hampton in 2012 -- for which all three stages and public spaces were devoted to the works of the playwrights, including two Guthrie-commissioned plays.

In addition to his work on stage, Dowling's tenure will be remembered for its emphasis on actor training, with the creation of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program (over 180 graduates), A Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training (more than 200 participants), and a seven-year partnership with The Acting Company of New York, affording young actors an opportunity to perform classics on tour throughout the country. Additionally, in 2001 Dowling developed the well-regarded WorldStage Series, a program that invites internationally distinguished theater companies and artists to perform on Guthrie stages. More than a dozen companies have presented their work on Guthrie stages, including the Royal Shakespeare Company with Sir Ian McKellen in King Lear, Kneehigh Theatre with Brief Encounter and Tristan & Yseult under the direction of Emma Rice, and Druid Theatre Company with its production of DruidSynge directed by Garry Hynes. Dowling also fulfilled his personal and professional commitment to the Twin Cities arts community by hosting more than 33 local companies in the Dowling Studio, a 200-seat black box theater he envisioned for productions, presentations and workshops that would showcase the work of both emerging and established organizations.

Photo Credit: Lyn Hughes

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