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2019-2020 Theatre Arts & Dance Season

August 1, 2019

Pippin 2019 Dancer

Pippin 2019 Dancer
Pippin, Photo by Dan Norman (2019)

The University of Minnesota’s Department of Theatre Arts & Dance announces its 2019/2020 season of four mainstage productions, three specialty productions, and an extensive studio series including Rarig Center, Barbara Barker Center for Dance, and site-specific productions. 

This upcoming season is an exemplary example of how all of the programs within the department focus on creating, studying, and producing works of theatre and dance that educate our students and our diverse audiences about the performing arts and the social issues and human emotions that the arts speak to so powerfully.


Mainstage Season
The mainstage season consists of fully-realized and developed productions. Each production typically has a support team of over 100 students, faculty, and staff and delivers a complete production package.

“Collidescope 4.0: Adventures in Pre and Post-Racial America” 
Created and Directed by Ping Chong & Talvin Wilks
Whiting Proscenium Theatre
Presented by the BA Performance Program
October 24 – November 3, 2019

Internationally acclaimed theatre artists, Ping Chong and UMTAD Assistant Professor Talvin Wilks will create the fourth iteration of Collidescope: Adventures in Pre and Post Racial America in collaboration with University of Minnesota undergraduate and graduate students. Originally conceived in 2014 as a response to the unjust murder of Trayvon Martin, the debate around Stand Your Ground Laws and the seemingly perpetual police violence against members of the African American community, Collidescope offers a collision course view of the legacy behind the history of racial violence, racism and social injustice in America. As seen through the gaze of an intergalactic time traveler, the investigation of this peculiar “nature” moves back and forth in historical time, specifically with a focus on the American psyche represented by contemplations of noted historical and contemporary writers and political figures. Utilizing archival documents and source texts, fictional and non-fictional, Collidescope engages the audience in a discourse interrogating the motives and justifications behind this legacy. This fourth installment will inject unique events from Minnesota’s history into the greater picture of race, racism and citizenship, to connect the dots between America’s troubled racial history and its ongoing consequences.

“Thought In Motion”
Presented by University Dance Theatre
Choreographed by Andrea Miller, Robert Moses, Leslie Parker
Directed by Erin Thompson
Whiting Proscenium Theatre
Presented by the Dance Program
December 5 – December 7, 2019

The Dance Program’s most anticipated event of the year, the winter dance concert, continues to set the stage ablaze with fresh talent illuminating our Dance Program’s mission to promote contemporary dance in a global contexts. Artistic residencies supported by the Sage Cowles Land Grant Visiting Artist Endowment.

Since 1987, through the generosity of Sage and John Cowles, the University of Minnesota Dance program annually hosts four to six dance professionals of international renown in residencies ranging from one to ten weeks. The guests teach, choreograph new dance work, rehearse repertoire, and lecture in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance and the Twin Cities community at large. The Cowles Land Grant Chair connects nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholars with dance students, exposing them to contemporary artistry, masterwork, and new thinking in dance studies.

“The Skriker” 
By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Lisa Channer
Stoll Thrust Stage
Presented by the BA Performance Program
February 27 – March 7, 2020

The Skriker blends English folktales with modern urban life to tell the story of an ancient fairy come to earth in pursuit of vengeance and sustenance. This play follows the Skriker, a shape-shifting fairy and death portent from the underworld, in its search for love and revenge as it pursues pregnant teens, Josie and Lily, to London in the mid 1990s. Along with the Skriker comes characters such as “Rawheadandbloodybones”, “the Kelpie”, “the Green Lady”, “Black Dog”, and more, until the whole country is swarming with enticing and angry creatures that have burst from the underworld seeking revenge for the way humans have hurt their native earth. Utilizing a non-linear form that plays with concepts of time and space, The Skriker is stunningly imaginative, dark and funny, and unsettling but joyful. 

“The Caucasian Chalk Circle” 
By Bertolt Brecht
Translation by Alistair Beaton
Directed by James A. Williams
Presented in the Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio
Opening April 2020
Performed by the University of Minnesota /Guthrie Theater BFA Acting Fourth Year Company.
One of Brecht’s most engaging plays, The Caucasian Chalk Circle engages both the characters and the audience in an exploration of moral “goodness”. This play with music is a parable inspired by the tale of King Solomon and a child claimed by two mothers. Written by a grandmaster of storytelling and peopled with vivid and amusing characters, Caucasian Chalk Circle is one of the greatest plays of the last century.

Specialty Series
The specialty season consists of performances highly focused on a specific discipline. Fully developed and partially designed, these productions showcase some of the best acting, performance creation, and dance within the department.


“Swede Hollow Ghost Sonata”
Directed by Luverne Seifert and Carl Flink
Presented in Collaboration with Sod House Theater and Black Label Movement
Performance Dates: Sept 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29, 2019 
Presented at Swede Hollow Park in St. Paul
This site-specific performance of Strindberg’s The Ghost Sonata will evoke the history of Swedish immigration to St. Paul in the 1850s-60s, resonating with Minnesota’s ongoing settler immigration stories on Dakota land. During the immersive performance, audiences will promenade through the park and enter the recreated shanties, moving among and through the performers, and gaining visceral insight into the daily lives and activities of the community. 
“Winter in the Spring”
Directed by Professor Joanie Smith
Presented in Barbara Barker Center for Dance, Studio 100
Performance Dates: February 28 & 29, 2020
The Dance Program presents its annual spring concert under the direction of Joanie Smith, featuring choreography by Annie Hanauer, J-Sun Noer, and dance major students, on February 28 and 29 at 6:00pm & 8:30pm at the Barbara Barker Center for Dance, Studio 100. 
“The Merchant of Venice”
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steve Cardamone
Performed by the BFA Acting Second Year Company
Presented in the Stoll Thrust Theatre
Performance Dates: April 2 - April 5, 2020


Studio Series
Rich in imagination and creativity, audiences can expect a vast range of plays and performances which have minimal design. The studio series is free for all performances, reservations are suggested. Visit for more information.

Informal Dance Showings offer a glimpse of dance works in rehearsal, which will be formally presented at Thought in Motion: the winter dance concert, December 5-7. Student casts perform choreographic works in the studio with the resident artists. Informal Studio Showings are free and open to the public with limited, first-come seating in Studio 100 of the Barker Center for Dance as follows:  

Gallim Dance Company Artist Dan Walczak - Friday October 4, 2019
Robert Moses - Friday October 25, 2019
Leslie Parker - Friday November 1, 2019
Annie Hanauer - Friday February 14, 2020

Realism Repertory
Presented by BFA Acting Fourth Year Company
Presented on the Larry Liu Stage in the Kilburn Theatre
Performance Dates: October 17 - October 20, 2019

“Three Sisters”
By Anton Chekhov
Translation by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Bruce Roach

“The Cherry Orchard”
By Anton Chekhov
Translation by Paul Schmidt
Directed by Genevieve Bennett

Contemporary Classic Repertory
Performed by the BFA Acting Second Year Company
Presented on the Larry Liu Stage in the Kilburn Theatre
Performance Dates: November 7 - November 10, 2019

“Boy Gets Girl”
By Rebecca Gilman
Directed by Lucinda Holshue

“Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train”
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by AnaSofia Villanueva

"The Oresteia"
Performed by the BFA Acting Third Year Company
Directed by Markell Kiefer
Presented on the Larry Liu Stage in the Kilburn Theatre
Performance Dates: February 27 - March 1, 2020
"Moliere One-Acts!"
Performed by the BFA Acting Third Year Company
Directed by Doug Scholz-Carlson and Joe Krienke
Presented on the Larry Liu Stage in the Kilburn Theatre
Performance Dates: April 9 - April 12, 2020

"Fresh Scenes"
Performance Dates: April 23 - April 25, 2020
Directed By Bruce Roach and Lucinda Holshue
Presented on the Larry Liu Stage in the Kilburn Theatre
A collection of vignettes and scene work, performed by the BFA Acting First Year Company

BA Performance Creative Collaborations
These informal showings showcase the collaborative work of the BA performance program where students are paired with a theatre professional to create new and innovative work. For more information including dates please visit
“The Double”
Conceived by Arina Slobodianik
Directed by Guest Artist Iaroslav Rakhmanin
Presented in Collaboration with The UMN Architecture and Design Library
Performance Dates: December 2-3, 2019
Performance Location: Rapson Architecture Library
The Double is an early novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky written in 1846 and presents the question “Who are we if we do not have a place in this life anymore?”. This collaboration is informed by the psychological method of Stanislavsky, using site-specific and installation art methods. 
“The Table”
Directed by Kym Longhi
Presented in the Nolte Xperimental Theatre
Performance Dates: February 26 - February 29, 2020
With all that divides us as a society, how can we truly come together at a larger Table? This project may not propose a definitive answer, but instead provide creative and compassionate views of what divides us as people along with what the possibilities of community may be. 

Ticket Information

The Caucasian Chalk Circle tickets will be available from the Guthrie Theater in February, 2020

Ticket prices 
$7 for students
$12 for University of Minnesota faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, 
$17 for general public.

Specialty Series:
Tickets range vary depending on production and can be found at

Studio Series:
Tickets are free with reservation and can be found at in September, 2019.

For more information on performances, press inquiries, or general production information please contact Emily Rosenberg at or (612) 625-5380.

For information on our curriculum and degree programs, visit or call 612-625-6699 (Theatre Arts) or 612-624-5060 (Dance).