Mabel Tainter Theater named one of world’s most spectacular

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By Eric Koeppel

Menomonie’s own Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts was recently dubbed one of the world’s “15 most spectacular theaters” by CNN. The theater has been a staple in the local community since its construction in 1889.

Mabel Tainter, who the theater was attributed to, was a music and arts enthusiast in Menomonie who died at the age of 19. Local lumber baron Andrew Tainter and his wife Bertha commissioned the building in order to provide Menomonie with a place to promote the arts in honor of their daughter.

The Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts is one of four theaters in the United States included in CNN’s list, which puts Menomonie’s adored theater up there with the Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London and the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo to name a few.

“If this tiny theater is anything to go by, bigger certainly doesn’t mean better,” CNN’s Tamara Hinson writes.

It’s true; the venue isn’t that big at all. Its historic Victorian theater holds only 269 seats, providing an intimate experience for a wide variety of live performances. At the Mabel Tainter it’s not about quantity at all, it’s about quality. And with all its marble floors, stained glass windows, intricate stenciled designs, top-notch woodwork, brass fixtures, sandstone exterior made from the Red Cedar River and its original Steere & Turner tracker pipe organ, this theater certainly has the quality.

For information on the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts and a schedule of its events, visit mabeltainter.org

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