Hennepin Theatre Trust announces collaboration with Theatre L’Homme Dieu benefitting greater Minnesota

June 18, 2019

A year-long initiative brings Spotlight Education opportunities to Alexandria and surrounding areas beginning June 26.

Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today it will begin a year-long effort to bring Spotlight Education, its premiere education program for high school students, to greater Minnesota through a unique collaboration with Theatre L’Homme Dieu in Alexandria. The new effort will actively engage students who may not otherwise have access to professional theater training in the Alexandria and surrounding areas.

“By creating new possibilities and partnerships, we’re ensuring that Spotlight Education programming is delivered statewide,” said Mark Nerenhausen, Hennepin Theatre Trust president and CEO. “Bringing the Hennepin Theatre Trust to communities like Alexandria is part of our overall vision to drive the cultural and economic vitality of Minnesota. We do this in part through educational programming that reaches e very corner of the state.”

Hennepin Theatre and Theatre L’Homme Dieu will launch this collaboration on Wednesday, June 26, with a masterclass at Theatre L’Homme Dieu. Hennepin Theatre Trust staff and theatre professionals will travel to Alexandria to lead the masterclass, which includes three tracts – technical theatre, movement, and acting – and is open to high school musical theatre students in Alexandria and surrounding communities.

The inaugural masterclass is one of four that will take place during the summer months. It coincides with the opening of Theatre L’Homme Dieu’s new season, a production of Bright Star by Minnetonka Theatre. As one of Spotlight Education’s participating schools, Minnetonka Theatre has been recognized as one of the premier high school programs in the Midwest.

Inspired by a real event, Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and 40s. Literary editor Alice Murphy enters a relationship with a young soldier just home from World War II that awakens her longing for the child she once lost. She sets out on a journey to understand her past that has the power to transform both of their lives. Performances begin June 25.

Nicole Mulder, executive director of Theatre L’Homme Dieu, said, “We’re excited to partner with Hennepin Theatre Trust to offer rewarding and meaningful opportunities for students in Alexandria and surrounding communities in outstate Minnesota.” She adds that she looks forward to continuing Theatre L’Homme Dieu’s tradition of contributing to the community’s vibrancy.

Spotlight Education engages Minnesota high school students in the performing arts. Now in its 14th year, the program provides valuable educational, performing and creative experiences for high school students at more than 100 schools throughout the state. Students who participate in their high school musical theater programs receive professional training and guidance to enhance their artist, technical and performing skills. Research shows such activities help foster essential lifelong skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving and self-expression.

The Trust recently expanded Spotlight programming through its NEWS (north, south, east, west) masterclass series, which brings professional theatre training to every corner of the state. Laura Osnes, a Minnesota native, Broadway performer and former Spotlight Education participant, is the program’s ambassador.

Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program is made possible with generous support from Sun Country Airlines. Hennepin Theatre Trust’s representation at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (the Jimmy® Awards) is funded by United Properties.

For more information and to sign up for masterclasses, visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org/Spotlight-Education.

Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and new event center at 900 Hennepin light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

Theatre L’Homme Dieu has a rich history of presenting theatre to the Alexandria Lakes Area. Founded in 1961, TLHD is one of the oldest operating summer stock theaters in Minnesota. Formerly partnered with St. Cloud State University, it has been operating independently as a presenting theatre since 2009. Its audiences are comprised of permanent residents, seasonal residents, tourists, and guests of the Alexandria area. Theatre L’Homme Dieu’s campus is a former resort that was converted into a theatre campus with housing for staff and guest artists, a lodge, and a 272-seat proscenium theatre. The campus sits on 22 acres of wooded land, with access to Lake L’Homme Dieu.


Minnesota State Arts Board logoThis activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.