The 26th biennial MACT*Fest — a statewide festival for community theatres — will be staged at Central Square on Saturday, March 25. The event features shows by four theatres from around Minnesota, as well as adjudications of each play, workshops, a discussion about the state of theatre in Minnesota, and an awards brunch on Sunday.

Saturday’s two performance sessions — at 1:30 p.m. and at 7 p.m. — present two plays each. In each session, a theatre company has 10 minutes to set up on the stage, up to 60 minutes to perform and 10 minutes to strike. Then three adjudicators offer responses to the performance — an entertaining and educational part of the festival experience. After an intermission, a second show sets up, performs and is adjudicated. 

This year’s performances include:

1:30 p.m. — Marshall Area Stage Company presents an original play, “Knock on Wood” by Maureen Keimig, followed by Ole Olson Onstage from Stillwater with another original script, “The Minnewaska Play,” by Jon Skaalen.

7 p.m.— County Seat Theater from Cloquet presents “Tracks,” a play by Peter Tarsi. The final performance of the festival is performed by FungusAmongus Players of Dassel-Cokato, called “The End of the Beginning,” by Irish dramatist Sean O’Casey.

Both County Seat Theater and FungusAmongus Players have previously won “Best of Festival” awards and have performed at the national festival, sponsored by the American Association of Community Theatre (AACTFest).

Adjudicators are Jim Walker, director of Aberdeen Community Theatre; Mike Ricci, who directed theatre programs at both Hibbing Community College and  North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park; and Sharon Thalmann, a director at the Andria Theatre in Alexandria.

Morning workshops will also be held at Central Square. The options are:

9 a.m.:

“What Did She Say? — Practical Captioning Options” (Jon Skaalen)

“The Joys and Challenges of Collaboration” (Sharon Thalmann)

10:30 a.m.: 

“Directing Roundtable” (Mike Ricci)

“Acting” (Jim Walker)

Awards to theatres and individuals for their performances, as well as several Fliehr Awards to persons who have made major contributions to Minnesota theatre, will be presented Sunday morning at the Lakeside Ballroom in Glenwood.

Central Square, at 105 2nd Ave. NE in Glenwood (two blocks north of the Hwy 28/29 intersection), offered to host this state festival to bring “live theatre” back to its historic auditorium, which was the previous home to the Minnewaska Showstoppers before the new school was built between Starbuck and Glenwood. 

MACT was founded in 1973, making this its 50th anniversary year. Since the first MACT*Fest in 1973, 12 Minnesota theatres have advanced to AACTFest, and a number of those theatres performed at international festivals as well. MACT’s mission, through play festivals, workshops, conferences, networking and information is to promote excellence in theatre. Tickets will be available at the door, but advance tickets are available online at