HJ/EDMay 1, 2006

Tracy Hagstrom to travel to Scotland with theatre group

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Tracy Hagstrom, formerly of Cokato, and her theater group from Buffalo High School have been chosen to represent the United States at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the premier live theater festival in the world.

Hagstrom, a 1976 graduate of Dassel Cokato High School, and her group were nominated with 200 others in November to apply for the honor. Hagstrom, with the help of Jox Metcalf of Cokato, put together a seven-minute DVD of parts of the theater group’s performances in the past, she said.

Hagstrom narrated parts of the DVD and also filled out a lengthy application form. She believes they were nominated based on their performances in the state one-act play contest, said Hagstrom, the daughter of the late Stanley and Shirley Hagstrom of Cokato.

Hagstrom has taught theater at Buffalo High School since 1992.

“There’s nothing else in the realm of high school theater to go for,” Hagstrom said of the Edinburgh festival. “This is kind of the pinnacle thing I can shoot for.”

Hagstrom was notified April 20 that she and the Buffalo students were among 43, high school, college and professional groups to be selected. She and the students will need to raise $100,000 by August 2007 for the trip. This summer, as director, she will go to Edinburgh for a familiarization trip, so when she returns with students in 2007, she will know what to expect, said Hagstrom, a 1980 graduate of Concordia University, Moorhead.

The festival will be a combination of musicals and plays. Hagstrom will prepare a play that can be performed, set up and torn down within two hours. The 20-student group will perform five times within two weeks, Hagstrom said.

Hagstrom will select a play that is unique, different and very new, she said.

“I love social issue theater,” she said.

Three of the performance examples on their DVD entry included social issue plays, she said. “The Laramie Project,” is about gay acceptance, based on the Matthew Shepard incident. “The Elephant Man,” and “The Boys Next Door,” are about handicapped men, she said.

When the high school group performed “The Laramie Project,” the play “just kept blossoming” in Buffalo, Hagstrom said.

Another big success for Hagstrom was the musical, “The Secret Garden.” The music was extremely difficult and Hagstrom was proud of how the Buffalo students handled it.

Hagstrom believes in the concept, “It takes a village to raise a child,” she said, so she credits the Dassel Cokato community in part for giving her the opportunity to go to the Edinburgh festival.

Hagstrom was delighted when the Dassel Cokato Performing Arts Center was completed, she added.

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