The Historic Guthrie Theater Won-Door Fire Door

The Historic Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Won-Door separates theater worlds

By Sharon Haddock

 The Historic Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota - Fire Door Separation Backstage

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — In the dramatic world of live theater, it's critical that the scenery, the props and their production be physically separated from the stage and the live actors.

Set pieces and props involve a lot of combustibles(wood, paint , varnishes,fabric etc.) that can easily catch fire as they are constructed and threaten not only cast members but potentially an audience.

At the same time, everything that needs to come on stage needs to be close at hand, quickly and easily accessible.

That's where Won-Door comes in, particularly for the historic Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota,

When the famed theater built a new facility in 2006-2008, it was decided that Won-Door FireGuard was the best option for the fire door application.

In fact, a Won-Door accordion fire door was really the only option, according to the architect.

The separating fire door had to be strong enough to withstand a lot of air force in a big volume space. It also had to be out of the way most of the time.

There needed to be room for very large set pieces to move from the storage and assembly areas to the stage and back.

Since a Won-Door product folds together and disappears into a wall pocket when not in use, it fit the bill. The Won-Door FireGuard door is 23' tall and it separates the scene shop from the back stage areas of three venues contained in the building.

It replaces the code-required, rated swing doors that also need rated swinging panels above, in order to move tall scenery onto the stages.

With FireGuard, the space remains wide open and makes the movement of scenery easy and unobstructed at all times.

The Guthrie Theater was founded in 1963 as a center for dramatic performances, theatrical education and training, a center envisioned by Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Oliver Rea and Peter Zeisler that would provide a place for productions removed from the pressures of Broadway.

The first building included a unique 1,441-seat thrust stage and operated until 2006.

At the close of the 2005-2006 season, the theater moved to its current facility designed by French architect Jean Nouvel on the west bank of the Mississippi River,

This next year, the Guthrie Theater celebrates its 50th anniversary.