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Theatre Arts & Dance

Portrait of Izzy Scharf

Content Creator
Izzy Scharf

Digital Newsletters

Backpack Content Creators write stories each semester that are published on departments' websites, shared via social media, and emailed out to department alumni and friends as a digital newsletter.

Recent Stories

Portrait of stage manager, Sarah Hasker.

Ellie Simonett: Life Behind the Scenes and on the Stage

“I wanted to help create the magic of what theatre is.” UMN alum Ellie Simonett embraced life behind the scenes by specializing in theatrical lighting. In spring 2019, Simonett was elected as the president of UMN’s student chapter of USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology). She explains how she worked her way up to be assistant lighting designer, later designing a few shows herself.
Shadowy figures stand on stage

Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks on Collidescope 4.0: Speaking to an Ongoing American...

“As a nation, we are not comfortable talking about race, and yet race is central to the core being of this nation.” Professor Talvin Wilks and National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong brought their collaborative performance Collidescope 4.0: Adventures in Pre and Post-Racial America to the University of Minnesota.
Thaddeus Kaszuba-Dias

Thaddeus Kaszuba-Dias

Thaddeus Kaszuba-Dias (BFA ’19, acting) spent a semester at the iconic Globe Theatre in London. “This opportunity helped me gain a global perspective on the legacy of theater internationally and inspired me to set career goals to contribute to that legacy.” Donors to The University of Minnesota/BFA Actor training program made this experience possible.
Portrait of David Melendez.

From California to Minnesota: Changing the Landscape of Representation in Theatre

PhD candidate David Melendez discusses his thoughts on marginalized theatrical communities and representation in the Twin Cities. Through his research, he’s looked at popular shows such as West Side Story and works to spread awareness about work that forces minority cultures into the past by refusing to recognize their existence at present.
Portrait of Sonja Kuftinec

Encountering Palestinian Displacement & Diaspora through “A Contested Home”

“We feel bigger and more human. It’s something that gives me back my life.” Professor Sonja Kuftinec discusses “A Contested Home,” a collaborative project with Adjunct Professor Avigail Manneberg, which aims to engage with Palestinian displacement and diaspora through Theatre of the Oppressed and other art techniques.
Portrait of Brandi Mans.

In the Costume Shop

“Every detail of a costume tells the audience something specific about the person wearing the costume,” says 2018 MFA costume design graduate Brandi Mans. She reflects on her thesis for Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, in which she navigates the visual language of clothing to tell historical narratives of medical practice and female sexuality.
Portrait of JT Weaver.

A Thoughtful Approach to Dance

Recent graduate JT Weaver calls framing his dance major in a liberal arts context “game-changing.” His well-rounded education equipped him to explore ideas through movement and to create dance pieces that are thoughtfully crafted ideas of creative research. “The biggest takeaway from my time at the University is my level of awareness in all facets of my life,” Weaver says. “My years at the U instilled an approach to life that is highly thoughtful and perspective-driven.”