Trollwood Performing Arts School provides high quality arts education, exceptional community entertainment, and operates as a community events and exposition center.
Trollwood serves as the managing arm for Bluestem Center for the Arts, a world-class facility headquartered in Moorhead, Minnesota. The campus includes river views, grassy meadows, woods, and wildlife. The facilities are comprised of outdoor stages, a 2,500-seat amphitheater, and the beautiful Marcil Commons, which serves as the Trollwood headquarters, an educational center, and a rental space. It boasts warm knotty pine rooms and beautiful park views.
Bluestem Center for the Arts hosts many programs that inspire a love for arts in people of all ages. The facility is used for school arts curriculum and activities, including the 12 programs offered by Trollwood Performing Arts School. Bluestem also serves as a space for public performances, exhibitions, community festivals, corporate retreats, conferences, weddings, and other private rental opportunities. Since opening, thousands of patrons and students have enjoyed these opportunities.
Trollwood Performing Arts School intentionally incorporates the outdoors into curriculum. Many of our programs are summer based, and we understand the importance of allowing youth to enjoy the season.
Bluestem Center for the Arts is an exciting collaboration between Fargo Public Schools and the city of Moorhead, serving as a testament to our region’s commitment to the arts. The center opened in 2009 thanks to generous support of the entire community.
Kathy Anderson began her career in Arts Management over 20 years ago as a student in the Music Industry program at Minnesota State University Moorhead, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1991. As a junior in college, she interned at Trollwood Performing Arts School and has since held numerous management roles in both the non-profit and for-profit industries. Kathy has been at the helm of Trollwood Performing Arts School since the fall of 2009. Under Kathy’s leadership, Trollwood has expanded its arts educational offerings through the creation of programs such as the Trollwood Conservatory, Totally Trollwood Academy, and the Trollwood Children’s Theatre. Kathy was also instrumental in starting the nationally recognized STudents At Risk (STAR) program for Trollwood back in 1997. Kathy has served in the role of producer for several Trollwood Mainstage Musical productions including Anything Goes (2010), The Music Man (2011), Legally Blonde (2012), Shrek (2013), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2014), Disney’s Mary Poppins (2015), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (2016), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2017), Hello, Dolly! (2018) and is currently working on Freaky Friday (2019). In the Fall of 2012, Kathy was asked to take on a larger role at Trollwood and oversee the management and programming of the venue, currently known as Bluestem Center for the Arts, as well as oversee all aspects of fundraising and development for the organization. Previously, Kathy held the position of Executive Director for the Cass County Historical Society and Bonanzaville USA (1997–1999). Under Kathy’s direction, Bonanzaville underwent a major renovation and also secured the initial vision and funding for the development of the Lucien Barnes Pavilion at Bonanzaville. In addition to Kathy’s roles in the non-profit industry, Kathy worked for Microsoft (2000–2005) where she was a Technical Support Engineer and Technical Lead for the accounting package Great Plains prior to returning to Trollwood as the Director of Administration in the spring of 2005. In addition to her professional arts management career, Kathy enjoys making music as a singer/songwriter. Kathy also loves spending quality time with her husband, Jim, and daughter, Jessica.
Michael Walling is a nationally known New York City-based stage director and arts educator. Michael has been the resident guest director for Trollwood since 1992 and is currently the Artistic Director for the Main Stage Musical. 2021 will mark the 30th stage production Michael has directed for Trollwood. Michael was the the Artistic Director of the Pit and Balcony Theatre Company in Michigan, directing 24 stage productions. He’s also served as Artistic Director for Fort Peck Theatre in Montana, directing and producing over 15 productions. For the last three decades Mr. Walling has been a frequent Guest Artist/Lecture on the regional theatre and university stage. Teaching masterclass’s in stage directing and audition technique. Michael was a founding member of the Directors Company in the prestigious Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tish School of the Arts. Throughout 1992-2000, Michael directed numerous of projects for the writing program.
As Artistic Director of the Main Stage Musical, Michael continues to lead a national artistic team to produce high quality professional theatre while inspiring thousands of our local students through the discipline of arts education. Because of Michael’s continuous dedication to our community, it was announced in 2001 by the mayor of Fargo that from this day on, July 18th would officially be “Michael Walling Day” in Fargo ND.
Michael’s Trollwood directing credits include: 1992-Oklahoma, 1993-Anything Goes, 1994-Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 1995-West Side Story, 1996-Guys and Dolls, 1997-A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, 1998-42nd Street, 1999-Jesus Christ Superstar, 2000-Damn Yankees, 2001-Crazy for You, 2002-Footloose, 2003-Les Misérables, 2004-Kiss Me, Kate, 2005-Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, 2006-Fiddler on the Roof, 2007-Thoroughly Modern Millie, 2008-Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 2009-The Wiz, 2010-Anything Goes, 2011-The Music Man, 2012-Legally Blonde The Musical, 2013-Shrek The Musical, 2014-How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, 2015-Mary Poppins, 2016-Disney’s The Little Mermaid, 2017-Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, 2018-Hello, Dolly! and in 2019-Freaky Friday!. Michael is currently working on our 2021 production of Cinderella.
Nancy has been involved with Trollwood as a volunteer and parent since 2003. She started her role on the Trollwood staff in January, 2008 as the Events and Volunteer Services Coordinator. In the fall of 2009, Nancy took on the role of Program and Volunteer Services Coordinator for Trollwood. In her new capacity, Nancy continues coordinating all volunteer efforts and also oversees the youth arts programs of Trollwood including coordinating all aspects of the Trollwood Academy, Totally Trollwood Academy, Totally Trollwood Musical, Trollwood Conservatory, Trollwood Children’s Theatre, ArtSpark, the STAR program, and the Trollwood Student Leadership program. Nancy is responsible for developing curriculum, as well as hiring and managing the faculty for all of these key Trollwood programs. The parts of her job she enjoys the most include working with all of the wonderful students and volunteers that make up the Trollwood family. Her previous employment was with the Muscular Dystrophy Association where she served as Health Care Service Coordinator, running the MDA Clinic and Summer Camp programs. Prior to being employed by Trollwood, Nancy spent numerous hours volunteering for the organization. She served as the volunteer Ambassador Chair, assisted with poster distribution, Sun Celebration, Tech Week meals, mic wiring, concessions, set construction, the holiday card mailing, and more. Her love of theatre began at Fargo North High School where she performed is several shows. During college, she was a member of the North Dakota Repertory Theatre and also performed in shows at NDSU and at FMCT.
Community Relations Coordinator
Kelsy Hewitt is originally from the Fargo-Moorhead area and is grateful to be an integral part of Trollwood Performing Arts School! Kelsy is an alum of Trollwood participating both on and off-stage for 5 years (04’ – 09’); she has also worked in the Costume Shop in multiple facets from 2012-2013. Kelsy holds an Associate Degree in Fashion Design (12’) from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Costume Design (15’) from North Dakota State University. As Community Relations Coordinator at Trollwood, Kelsy works together with Kathy Anderson, Executive Director, to help build the relationships and financial foundation that is needed for Trollwood to be successful now and into the future, and manages the business office, box office and concessions, as well as many other front of house duties. Kelsy is also responsible for coordinating all of the private, public, and in-house events that are hosted at Trollwood. Outside of the office, Kelsy loves to spend time with her family and travel. Kelsy is thrilled to be given an opportunity to work for a great arts organization, and is excited for the future we can create for our community.
The mission of Trollwood Performing Arts School is simple, “…to inspire those we serve through the arts to realize their full potential and be a positive influence in the global community.”
Trollwood believes that the arts have the power to transform people’s lives — to open them to the greatness that lies within them and in others.
Our primary goal is to develop and deliver the highest standard of performing arts education, which provides young people with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in future endeavors.
Underlying this performing arts curriculum is a commitment to instill lifeskills: confidence, creativity, communication skills, collaboration skills, citizenship and character.
In the course of serving young people, Trollwood realizes a second goal of providing high quality entertainment. Hundreds of thousands of people have enjoyed performances by Trollwood Performing Arts School since its inception.
In order to accomplish this mission, Trollwood Performing Arts School:
- Provides intense, quality learning and performing opportunities in the production and performing arts.
- Provides an atmosphere where young people are encouraged to set goals, take risks and view mistakes as an avenue for learning.
- Surrounds students with a staff of professional artists who serve as mentors and teachers, encouraging our students to commit to a high level of self-expectation.
- Creates an awareness that the arts are a constructive vehicle of personal expression.
- Demonstrates to the public the high level of performing and production arts skills that the students are capable of achieving when given proper training.