Hamline News

Alumna Serves as Director of the Fringe Festival


From theatre directors to executive director, Hamline alumni and students played a large role in the Minnesota Fringe Festival this year. Not only did students and alumni create multiple shows for the event, but this year was also the first festival with alumna Dawn Bentley ’95 MBA ’14 MNM ’14 as the executive director.

Just four months before the start of the annual 11-day art event, Bentley started her new position as the director of Minnesota Fringe, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering artistic adventure through performance. She took on this position after serving as the executive director of Art Shanty Projects, another local arts nonprofit. She talked about her transition and preparation for the summer Fringe Festival with the Star Tribune.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Hamline in biology, Bentley began her career in the laboratory as a research biologist. She then worked in marketing in 10 years before making adding two degrees from the Hamline School of Business to her resume. By 2014 she started as the executive director of Art Shanties Project, which, under her leadership, was recognized as one of 32 featured semifinalists for an International Award for Public Art. 

With Bentley as director and numerous other alumni acting, directing, writing, or designing costumes, the Fringe Festival finished its 11 day run on Sunday, August 13, 2017. It featured more than 1,000 artists on more than 15 stages and the audience was able to view more than 160 works. Some of the performances created in-part by students and alumni included Frankenstein, Mayor Lear of Townsville, Mnemosyne, and Slaughterhouse Five: A Musical

You can learn about how to see student and alumni performances on the Fringe Festival website. If you know of any more students or alumni doing great work in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, share their performance information with us by tweeting @HamlineU or e-mailing inside@hamline.edu.