Press Release

Ballard Spahr Represents the Brave New Workshop in Sale of Assets, Building

December 6, 2021

Ballard Spahr represented the Brave New Workshop, the longest-running satirical comedy theater in the United States, in the recent sale of its assets and physical space to Hennepin Theatre Trust.

The Brave New Workshop, a staple of the national sketch comedy and improv scene since its founding in 1958, will continue as a producing company and plans to resume productions in 2022. Hennepin Theatre Trust—the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that manages the historic Pantages, Orpheum, and State theaters—will take on the role of steward and producer of the Brave New Workshop’s shows. The Brave New Workshop’s longtime co-owners, Jenni Lilledahl and John Sweeney, will retain ownership of their corporate keynote speaking and training company, renaming it the Brave New Outpost, and will continue to manage the Brave New Institute, a nonprofit launched in 1997.

“Solidifying this next chapter of the Brave New Workshop has been a great example of collaboration from day one,” said John Sweeney. “We are so grateful to the amazing team of Barb Lano Rummel and Sonja B. Beddow, and the entire firm of Ballard Spahr, who worked diligently and innovatively to accomplish this wonderful outcome. They have been with us since the day we purchased the theatre in 1997, a true partner and trusted advisor in every sense.”

The transaction includes the sale of the Brave New Workshop’s physical space at 824 Hennepin Avenue, in the heart of Minneapolis’ bustling Theater District. Terms of the sale are being kept confidential. The transition comes at a time when downtown Minneapolis, like downtowns across the country, is undergoing a renaissance after COVID-19 brought much of urban life to a standstill. Lisa Goodman, the Minneapolis City Council Member who represents the Theatre District, called it a “win-win” for the city’s arts community and for Hennepin Avenue.

Business and Transactions Partner Barbara Lano Rummel and Real Estate Associate Sunny Beddow represented the Brave New Workshop, Ms. Lilledahl, and Mr. Sweeney.

For more information, please visit Hennepin Theatre Trust’s press release

For media inquiries, please contact Will Ashenmacher at 612.371.5792.


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