NorShor Theatre Rehabilitation

Through the efforts of a private, public and non-profit partnership, The Duluth Playhouse, Sherman Associates and the City of Duluth undertook the historic rehabilitation of the NorShor Theatre, including the connecting Orpheum Theatre building. The primary purpose is to facilitate the reuse of the closed and mothballed NorShor Theatre into a first class, community-based, live performance theatre venue. The reintroduction of the NorShor Theatre into the Duluth arts scene is a critical piece in the revitalization of Duluth's historic downtown and the creation of a regional arts center.

The NorShor Theatre (Orpheum Service Garage) and the Orpheum Theatre buildings are contributing resources to the National Register-listed Duluth Commercial Historic District.

The NorShor Theatre will have an important and lasting impact on the City of Duluth in a number of ways:

  • First, the project addressed the badly aging exterior of the buildings. Without the terra-cotta, brick and re-pointing work, the building would have continued to suffer enormous damage that would have lead to ongoing deterioration and the eventual demolition of these historic structures.
  • Second, this was a key opportunity to save the only remaining historic theatre in downtown Duluth. This redevelopment continues the revitalization of Superior Street and the historic section of east Duluth.
  • Third, the theatre will provide great economic benefit to the surrounding neighborhood. It has stabilized this key block, created hundreds of construction and construction-related jobs, and, at the height of its operations, create 150 new permanent jobs. All will have a lasting impact on the Duluth economy.

The NorShor Theatre will function as the primary home for The Duluth Playhouse, with performances 20 to 24 weeks a year. The balance of performances will be conducted with the user groups that have partnered with the Playhouse, forming a unique sharing arrangement of the new facility. These groups are the University of Minnesota - Duluth, Duluth Superior Symphony, Lyric Opera, Minnesota Ballet, Big Top and a number of smaller theater and musical ensembles.
Recipient: Duluth Playhouse Inc.
Amount Awarded: $150,000

The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program has been made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.