All photos courtesy Hennepin Theatre Trust
Hennepin Theatre Trust is known for the nationally and internationally touring acts it brings to the Twin Cities (particularly of the Broadway variety), so why is it stepping into the event venue business?
“Using 900 (which is also our administrative headquarters) as event space allows us to partner with smaller arts organizations and community groups to provide space for performances and community events,” director of public relations and communications Andrea Cournoyer says. “It’s also a beautiful space for numerous private events such as weddings, corporate events, trainings—and all profits from renting this building help support our mission.”
While events have been going on since the Super Bowl came in 2018, the Trust is ready to open up their doors for an official welcome with a free open house on Jan. 15. Visitors will be able to come and get tours of the space, enjoy two complimentary drink tickets, meet the events staff, see sample decorations using in-house items and their partner Linen Effects, and try small bites from its five preferred caterers, a diverse lineup of Chowgirls, Surdyk’s, Crave, Eat for Equity, and The Food Gallery.
The arts nonprofit has owned the building, aptly named 900 Hennepin, since 2016. While its offices have been on the second floor for a while, the rest of the building has undergone a huge restoration to make it ready to host events of any kind, including weddings. Wall coverings have been removed to expose the 100-year-old brick, a new maple sprung floor on the third level has been put in, and historical elements have been given new life.
As far as weddings go, between the six rental spaces (from the 700-square-foot Gallery to the 2,800-square-foot 900 Studio), couples will be able to mix and match. While the 900 Studio and the 1,300-square-foot Rooftop are pretty blank canvases—the former has picture windows around two of the four walls—other more furnished areas present unique alcove areas, which could be perfect for cocktail hours.
Throughout the venue, you’ll also see unobtrusive touches of the history of the building and of the Trust such as lamp fixtures found in the Orpheum’s basement and pictures of Hennepin Avenue and its historic theaters across the decades. (I’m in love with the illustration of the Pantages that hangs inside the early 1900s frame that the Orpheum used to place vaudeville advertisements in.)
More than the nonprofit’s aesthetic resources are being used: The lighting and sound system from the now-closed New Century Theatre are in the wings in the 900 Studio, and different resources the Trust usually uses for theater can be used to make your wedding (or other event) happen. Want a piano for live music? Done. Want ear-in microphones so your pictures aren’t marred by huge hand-helds? Easy. In the 900 Studio, a Bose sound system is wired in, a speaker line array is ready to go, and different stage lights are all rigged up if you want your reception to go crazy.
“It’s great food, great wine, fabulous events, and Minneapolis history—everything I love,” sales associate Don Shier says with a laugh. See the venue yourself Jan. 15 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.