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Brave New Workshop Announces Purchase of a New Home for its School, the BNW Student Union

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The historic Brave New Workshop Theatre (BNW) announced plans today to purchase an additional building in the Hennepin Avenue Downtown Theatre District in order to house its growing school, the BNW Student Union. The BNW has signed a purchase agreement to acquire 727 Hennepin Avenue.  The new space sits diagonally across the street from the BNW main stage at 824 Hennepin Avenue. The two spaces combined will create a world-class entertainment, event and training campus of nearly 40,000 square feet on Hennepin Avenue in the heart of the growing arts corridor.

"We have a strategic plan and growth initiative to reach 10,000 students through programs of the BNW Student Union," said Jenni Lilledahl, BNW co-owner and executive director of the BNW Student Union.  "Our mission at the Student Union is to give anyone who desires a chance to learn the gifts of improvisation in a safe and 'BNW' style environment. This space will allow us to reach our growth goals."  

Plans for the new facility include six classrooms, a student showcase space, a lounge/gathering space, small group and writing rooms, restrooms on each floor, webcast and video conferencing studios, offices and storage. The entire fifth (top) floor is currently configured as offices and will remain as offices for the full-time staff of the school, theatre, and BNW Creative Outreach (corporate services division). 

Dudley Riggs founded the Brave New Workshop in 1958, with its first home on East Hennepin Avenue. In 1965, Dudley moved the theatre to 2605 Hennepin in Uptown. John Sweeney and Jenni Lilledahl have owned the BNW since 1997. The BNW Student Union, formerly known as the Brave New Institute, has occupied 2605 Hennepin since 1997.  In 2011, Sweeney and Lilledahl purchased 824 Hennepin and moved the main stage theatre downtown, giving the now 56-year-old theatre a permanent home.

"With the addition of 727 Hennepin, for the first time in BNW history we have achieved permanency and sustainability for the theatre, school and entire BNW family," said Lilledahl.  The BNW's main stage theatre and ETC event centre will continue to operate at 824 Hennepin. "The current layout and technology at 824 Hennepin, and the planned technology and space at 727 Hennepin, will allow us to share the BNW culture and history with a worldwide audience, both literally and virtually," said BNW co-owner John Sweeney.

BNW plans to begin construction at 727 Hennepin soon, with an anticipated opening of the new classrooms in late fall/early winter. Financing is being provided by Nicolet National Bank of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

A full version of this release can be found at http://theatre.bravenewworkshop.com/TheatreNews.aspx

SOURCE Brave New Workshop Theatre

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