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Guthrie’s Joe Dowling will cut his salary 10 percent

Guthrie Theater Artistic Director Joe Dowling, whose $600,000-plus salary raised eyebrows earlier this year, will take a 10 percent salary cut as part of an effort to reduce the regional theater’s budget by 14 percent in the coming year.

Four other senior managers will take 5 percent pay cuts, wages will be frozen and furloughs will be imposed, Dowling told the Star Tribune today. How many staff members will lose jobs is not clear yet.

"We're not going to do it wholesale," Dowling said. "We'll undertake the reduction in force in a way that both reflects our respect for the individual people involved and makes certain that we can do what we set out to do.”

The Minneapolis theater will operate on $24.1 million in the fiscal year starting April 1, down from $28 million. Dowling cited a 30 percent decline in the value of the theater’s endowment as well as declines in donors and patronage. The Guthrie is the latest major arts institution to announce budget cuts as a result of the economic downturn.

The news comes two days after the Guthrie announced its 2009-2010 season, including plans for Dowling to take the stage in one of the plays. 

According to the Minnesota Attorney General’s charities database, Dowling received a compensation package totaling $682,299 for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007. His base pay was $628,625 then. His compensation package for 2008 is not included in the theater's most current financial filing on the AG’s website.

The Star Tribune reported in January that Dowling was the highest-paid artistic director among nonprofit theaters in the nation.

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