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Published July 20, 2013, 06:03 PM

A local theatre program is celebrating a 50 year anniversary

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV)-- A local theatre program is celebrating 50 years of putting on summer productions.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV)-- A local theatre program is celebrating 50 years of putting on summer productions.

Two alumni of MSUM's Straw Hat Theatre have gone on to big things, one winning an Oscar this year, and the other an Emmy.

Laughter rang through Hanson Hall as alumni reminisced about the good old days as performers in MSUM's Straw Hat Theatre.

Kathleen Holiday- Straw Hat Theatre Alum: "We were just immersed in it, you lived it and breathed it. We loved it, it was fun."

About 150 alumni are in town for the summer program's 50th anniversary.

Two of those alumni came back with some serious hardware, and success stories.

Jim Erickson- Oscar Winner: "I'm just pleased I could come and share this story with some these young people it makes me feel good."

"Lincoln, Rick Carter and Jim Erickson."

Jim Erickson won an Oscar this year for his set direction for the film "Lincoln."

He says the two years he spent in the Straw Hat Theatre program taught him valuable lessons in his career and in life.

Erickson: "How to work really hard and love what you do. Because if you don't love what you do, you can't work like this. To come in, we did 8 shows in 10 weeks. Endless, you hardly ever slept."

Bill Hultstrom won his 13th Emmy this year for Art Direction on "The Young and The Restless."

He originally came to the area to pursue architecture at NDSU, but ended up getting a theatre degree in Moorhead.

Bill Hultstrom- Emmy-Winner: "It developed in me, all of the drive and the want to spend my life with a group of players."

But Erickson and Hulstrom are just two of the success stories that have come out of MSUM's theatre program.

Hulstrom: "For a small Midwestern school, the number of working professionals that came out of that era, it's huge."

Straw Hat Theatre is currently performing "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

It runs through next week.

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