When Amanda Joy Hauman says her acting class is offered on a pay-what-you-can basis she wants to make sure you know that pay what you can really means pay what you can.

Amanda Joy Hauman - Mankato, MN
Photo by Don Lipps – Amanda Joy Hauman is the host and instructor of the Pay What You Can Drop-In Acting Classes in Mankato. The class meets at the Twin Rivers Council for the Arts Emy Frentz Art Guild.

With a Master of Fine Arts in Theater Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University her passion for teaching the craft is clear, “There’s a joy that I get from teaching that is more valuable than anything. If you can only bring in a dollar, just bring the dollar and come. If you only have two-cents, that’s OK. I’d rather have you here.”

Growing Creative Expression

Upon arrival in Mankato, Hauman took stock of the local theater situation, “I got involved with Merely Players for a time. They’re a good organization.” She longed, though, for more creative latitude so she started the Intrepid Theater Project whose goal is to, “produce bold and unapologetic art with and for the Mankato community.” Intrepid’s first production was a one-woman show featuring Hauman called, “Empty-Headed Female.”

Pay What You Can

Through the Intrepid Project, Hauman began to offer the Pay What You Can class. She said, “The first six classes have been about technique. We’ve been doing breathing techniques, relaxation techniques. We’re trying to get to a neutral place because as an actor you want to be as neutral as possible so that when you get into the role of the character you can change, re-form, and remodel yourself.”

“If you only have two-cents, that’s OK. I’d rather have you here.”

The Pay What You Can can
Photo by Don Lipps – The Pay-What-You-Can can reminds participants that pay what you can really means pay what you can.

About the next round of classes beginning in May, Hauman offered, “What I’m going to do next is a monologue edition. We’ll talk about monologues in general. Participants can either work on an audition piece or if they just want to dig into a text and we’ll work on that.”

“Drop-in,” means that you can come for any number of classes. While there is a benefit from attending all the classes, each one stands on its own and participants will benefit, and of course, have fun, even if they just “drop-in” for one.

Hauman is pleased with the results so far and optimistic about the future of the class, “I’ve had a good response. I’ve had really random people who’ve come. I’ve had older women, I’ve had some teenage boys that came with their mothers. I’ve had all sorts of people. It’s a really wide range and it’s different every time.”

Expanding Reach

The class isn’t Hauman’s only project, “I am also the co-founder of On The Verge Theater. We just did a show in January called ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore.’

On The Verge has recently been selected to participate in the 2018 Minnesota Fringe Festival, a performing arts festival featuring hundreds of performances in Cedar-Riverside and Northeast Minneapolis neighborhoods in August.

“In our small company tier there were 280 entries, it’s lottery-based and 40 were selected,” Hauman explained. “You have to develop an original show up to sixty-minutes long. It can be performance art that’s not necessarily story based. It can be dance. It can be all sorts of things. We’re going to do more of a story.” Hauman and The Verge expect to announce their production in the very near future.

You Know You Want To!

If you’ve always known there’s an actor inside just waiting to get out, here’s your chance! The next round of Pay What You Can classes starts in May at the Twin Rivers Council for the Arts Emy Frentz building. Keep your eye on the MankatoLIFE.com calendar for dates and times.

Additional Links



  • is a long-time resident of Mankato and North Mankato. He's been doing web development almost as long as there has been a web.