MSUM Theatre Arts Department announces fall and winter shows

A play that examines a community’s reaction to a hate crime opens the fall semester of theatre in the University Theatre Series at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

The Laramie Project delves into the psyches of the people of Laramie, Wyo., following the death of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard. The University Of Wyoming student was tied to a fence miles outside of Laramie, severely beaten and left to die by two men he met in a bar who had offered to drive him home. Shepard was gay, and his death was prosecuted as a hate crime.

Craig Ellingson, chair of the Theatre Arts Department, describes the play as breathtaking. “It explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable.”

The Laramie Project opens Oct. 2 and continues through Oct. 5 on the Gaede Stage in the Roland Dille Center for the Arts. For tickets to The Laramie Project, visit or call the MSUM Box Office Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (218) 477-2271, or buy at the door.

A production for children follows November 23 in Hansen Theatre in the Roland Dille Center for the Arts. Swashbuckled! A Pirate Adventure was written by Ellingson for children in early elementary grades, including kindergarten. The play tells the story of three pirates searching for their missing pirate king. The show is filled with music, singing, sword fights and plenty of action. Two shows, at 1 and 4 p.m., are free to the public. Goodwill offerings will be accepted.

On Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m., a showcase of dance featuring the work of student dancers and choreographers takes place in Hansen Theatre. “These works-in-progress are a sampling of dance pieces in various stages of completion,” says Ellingson. “Most of them will continue to be polished and presented as part of the spring dance concert.” The showcase is free and open to the public.

For more information regarding themes, educational resources, or programming, please contact Ellingson at For information about MSUM Theatre Arts, go to