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Hennepin Theater Trust Buys Assets Of Brave New Workshop

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The assets of the venerable Brave New Workshop has been purchased by the Hennepin Theatre Trust, it was announced Friday afternoon.

The founder of Brave New Workshop, Dudley Riggs, died at age 88 last year. Riggs grew up in the circus, and founded the Instant Theatre Company in New York City the 1950s, which later became the Brave New Workshop when he brought it to Minneapolis in 1958.

The theater grew into the nation's oldest sketch-comedy troupe, which helped launch the comedy careers of former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Louie Anderson, "The Daily Show" co-creator Lizz Winstead and screenwriter Pat Proft.

"We are thrilled that the Brave New Workshop comedy theatre will continue to be a producing company in the heart of the Hennepin Theatre District," Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust, said. "This organization has been delighting and challenging brave audiences for more than 60 years and we are honored to carry on the creative legacy Dudley Riggs started in 1958 and John Sweeney and Jenni Lilledahl stewarded for the past 25 years."

Co-owners John Sweeney and Jenni Lilledahl will keep the ownership of their corporate training company, the Hennepin Theatre Trust said.

"Like a good improv scene, this latest reinvention honors the past and embraces the future," he said. "We are grateful to the Trust for carrying on the legacy of Dudley Riggs and the theatre's rich history. Long live the Brave New Workshop."

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