FungusAmongus Players pursue new adventures

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – There is much talk around Dassel and Cokato and on social media concerning the Community Education department and its DC Community Theater program.

One of the rumors that has sprung up is that Community Education chose to discontinue its theater program.

This is not true.

Rather, the FungusAmongus Players have decided to separate themselves from Community Education department.

FungusAmongus Player Ron Hungerford stated that the FungusAmongus Players “plan to operate as an independent organization and pursue artistic programs outside the umbrella of DC Community Ed.”

Hungerford said this decision had been in development for about two years, and “having decided it was time” Hungerford represented the FungusAmongus Players in a meeting with Community Education director Perry Thinesen, Community Education program coordinator Abigail Lang, and theater production coordinator Deborah Moen May 12 to announce their decision.

“FungusAmongus informed us on Friday that they were going to strike out on their own, and they want to continue a cordial relationship with the community education and school district moving forward, as long as there was opportunity. Abbey and I agreed it was a really good idea,” Thinesen stated.

Questions have also surfaced regarding the 2017 community summer musical. Lang confirmed the musical will not take place due to the resignation of the theatrical director and the inability to find a replacement in the lateness of the season.

The cancellation is not related to FungusAmongus’ decision to become independent.

“Community Education fully supports the theater, and will continue to offer opportunities as they present themselves,” Lang commented.

More coverage will appear in the May 22 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch.


  1. Jen says:

    I don’t understand . . . I thought Fungus Amongus has always been independent of community education? Local actors have taken part in both organizations’ productions, but community theater and Fungus Amongus have always operated separately from each other. Am I wrong? Isn’t that why Fungus Amongus productions take place at Dassel History Center?

  2. Jenny Von Ohlen says:

    Ron Hungerford explained that FungusAmongus and DC community theater are the same, but the group takes on the name the FungusAmongus Players when entering a competitive atmosphere, such as the Minnesota Association of Community Theaters Festival.

    Theatrical director David Metcalf explained that the distinction was made by community education eight years ago, when the community theater group first expressed its desire to enter theater competition.

    He stated, “We were told that our local productions [such as the summer musicals and noncompetitive winter plays] would still be funded by community ed, who retained all revenue from the local performances, but that as soon as the competition cycle began, we would be considered a completely separate entity, not entitled to, nor eligible for any financial assistance from community ed or the school district – by law.”

    Because of this, FungusAmongus has had to collect its own funds for competition expenses through grants, fundraisers, and donations.

    “For our community’s generosity we are extremely grateful, and we hope we have represented Dassel and Cokato well on a national level,” said Metcalf. “In leaving the umbrella of community education, we are simply making the distinction of separateness permanent. The Dassel Area Historical Society has graciously welcomed us under their wing and will now act as our non-profit fiscal agent.”

    The newspaper printed a more complete version of the story May 22, which can be read here:

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