The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is a prestigious and renowned cultural institution located in downtown St Paul, Minnesota, USA. It serves as a vibrant hub for the performing arts, presenting a diverse array of world-class performances, including Broadway musicals, concerts, dance productions, theater shows, and other live entertainment events. The Ordway is not only a prominent venue for arts enthusiasts but also plays a pivotal role in the local community’s cultural and educational enrichment.
The Ordway Center was founded in 1985 through the vision and dedication of Sally Ordway Irvine, a passionate arts advocate and philanthropist. Irvine’s vision was to create a world-class performing arts venue that would bring exceptional cultural experiences to the Twin Cities area. Her generous financial support, along with contributions from other donors, made the construction and establishment of the Ordway possible.
Architecturally, the Ordway Center is an impressive modern building with striking glass facades and elegant interiors. It houses several performance spaces, including the 1,900-seat Main Hall, the 1,100-seat Music Theater, and the intimate 306-seat McKnight Theatre. Each venue is equipped with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, providing audiences with unparalleled theatrical experiences.
The Main Hall is the largest and most prestigious performance space, known for hosting grand Broadway productions, major concerts, and large-scale events. Many popular touring Broadway shows make a stop at the Ordway during their national tours, delighting theatergoers with top-tier performances.
The Music Theater is a more versatile space, accommodating a wide range of performances, from musicals and dance shows to concerts and community events. With its flexible seating configurations, the Music Theater can create an intimate atmosphere for smaller productions or open up to host larger gatherings.
The McKnight Theatre is designed for smaller, more intimate performances, making it an ideal venue for experimental theater, chamber music, and spoken word performances. Its intimate setting allows for a more personal connection between artists and audiences.
The Ordway Center is dedicated not only to showcasing established artists but also to nurturing local talent and emerging artists through various educational and outreach programs. These programs include workshops, masterclasses, and mentorship opportunities, providing aspiring artists with the tools and support they need to grow and succeed in the performing arts industry.
Additionally, the Ordway is committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the arts. It strives to present a diverse range of performances that reflect different cultures, traditions, and artistic expressions, fostering a sense of understanding and appreciation for the world’s varied cultures.
Beyond its artistic endeavors, the Ordway Center is deeply engaged with the community, collaborating with schools, nonprofits, and other organizations to bring arts education and experiences to underserved communities. Through its Ordway Education programs, the center reaches thousands of students each year, providing them with access to the arts and opportunities for artistic expression and development.
As a significant cultural landmark in the Twin Cities, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts continues to enrich the lives of countless individuals by providing unforgettable arts experiences, promoting artistic excellence, and celebrating the beauty and diversity of the performing arts. It stands as a testament to the power of the arts to inspire, unite, and uplift communities, and it remains a beacon of creativity and cultural vitality in the heart of St. Paul.