‘Maggie’s Brain’ at the Cowles Center: The moving journey of a family in crisis

‘Maggie’s Brain’ at the Cowles Center: The moving journey of a family in crisis

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Jennifer Ilse



Maggie’s Brain The Moving Journey Of A Family In Crisis

Off-Leash Area returns to the Cowles Center with dance/theater fusion

show about a family struggling with mental illness



Minneapolis, MN - Off-Leash Area returns to the Cowles Center in January with Maggie’s Brain, the story of one family’s struggle with schizophrenia, told through OLA’s signature style of melding dance, theater, and visual art. The show runs three performances only, January 24-26, at 8pm Friday and Saturday, and 7pm Sunday.  There will be a discussion with the artists after the show on Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25 as part of The Cowles Center’s Meet the Company Talk-Back Series.  Tickets are $23-$25 and can be purchased on The Cowles Center’s website or by calling the box office at 612-206-3600.


With Maggie’s Brain, Off-Leash Area addresses the prejudice and stigma of schizophrenia head on.  Drawing from the deeply personal experience of Off-Leash Area’s co-artistic director Jennifer Ilse, whose brother had paranoid schizophrenia, OLA has created a uniquely original production, thoroughly researched, and tremendously imaginative.  Maggie’s Brain follows a family in crisis, moving through confusion and heartbreak as they watch their dear Maggie succumb to the complex new reality of schizophrenia, traveling on a journey to understanding and hope.


"Now and then, a choreographer manifests an aspect of human experience with such emotional honesty,

dramatic credibility and choreographic intent, you leave the theater moved and enlightened.

Off-Leash Area's "Maggie's Brain," choreographed by Jennifer Ilse, is such a work

– Camille Lefevre, Minneapolis Star Tribune


Maggie’s Brain cast includes Taja Will and Karla Grotting, and the show features choreography and direction by Jennifer Ilse, an original score by composer/musician Ben Siems, a synaptic set design by McKnight Fellow Paul Herwig, and lighting by Paul Epton.


For this performance, Off-Leash Area will be partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).  NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI has been instrumental in the research and creation of the show, as well as in helping bring this important production to as many people as possible, especially now that mental illness is once again at the forefront in the media, politics, and social discourse.



At the Cowles Center for Performing Arts

January 24/25/26, Fri/Sat 8pm & Sun 7pm


Tickets: Adults $25, Students/Seniors $23

Reservations: Reserve online at or call the box office at 612-206-3600