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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Wagon Wheel series inspires class to perform

Communications class creates performance from real-life stories.

Published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 11/3/2011

cook serving breakfast at Wagon Wheel restaurantMinnesota State Mankato professor Leah White is teaching a class this semester called “Performing Community.”

The goal of the class has been to develop a staged performance based on The Free Press’ Wagon Wheel series, which has included numerous profiles of regular Wagon Wheel customers and employees on the cover of the Sunday Currents section on an occasional basis.

White’s colleague, Dave Engen, gathered and edited the interviews for the Wagon Wheel series, while Free Press photographer John Cross took the photos.

The class developed a script based on the Wagon Wheel interviews that “highlight some of the more compelling narratives shared in those interviews, but also focus the performance on statements made, which communicate the value of the Wagon Wheel as a community gathering place,” White said.

“My reasoning for wanting to do this project with students is to help bridge connections between the campus community and the local Mankato community,” she said.

For the complete Free Press story, see Thursday's print edition, or click on

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