About Straw Hat Players

The MSC Summer Theatre was launched in 1963 by Delmar J. Hansen with three one-act avant-garde plays produced in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. The junior college facilities made the production of plays barely possible. But the enthusiasm of his college students, working through extreme difficulties, convinced Dr. Hansen that summer theatre was possible in Moorhead.

In 1965 eight plays were produced in Weld Hall auditorium, and the Fargo-Moorhead community became enthralled and committed to live theatre and the theatre company now named The Straw Hat Players.

Since that time, The Straw Hat Players has become a regionally acclaimed summer theatre company committed to providing theatre students with opportunities to perform in conditions similar to those experienced by professional actors, and to foster the growth and accessibility of live theatre as a necessary and enlightening element of the region's cultural life.


The Straw Hat Players is the preeminent summer theatre program in the region, sponsored by the School of Performing Arts: University Theatre. The mission of The Straw Hat Players is to provide:

  • A training ground for students in theatre at Minnesota State University Moorhead emphasizing their understanding and experience in various aspects of production.
  • Quality, live entertainment from the best popular, classic and original repertory of musicals and plays for theatre audiences in the region.
  • A production showcase for students, alumni, faculty and staff.

Theatre Stages

Hansen Theatre

Delmar J. Hansen Theatre
As the largest public-gathering space on the campus of Minnesota State University Moorhead, the Delmar J. Hansen Theatre is a proscenium style theatre, which seats approximately 850 audience members. Complete with a hydraulic forestage/orchestra pit and fly house, the Hansen Theatre is used a for variety of events including the Cheryl Nelson-Lossett Performing Arts Series, University Theatre Series, MSUM Children’s Theatre, The Straw Hat Players, and many more.

Gaede Stage

The Gaede Stage
The Gaede Stage is a thrust style theatre, which seats approximately 330 audience members. The Gaede Stage is fashioned after the original Guthrie thrust theatre, and is used primarily by the MSUM Theatre Arts Department, including its University Theatre Series and The Straw Hat Players.