Black high school students from Minnesota perform at Fringe Festival in Scotland

As a football player at Minneapolis North High School, Moziah Thomas turned to the performing arts as another way to express himself. Now he is trading in the Friday night lights for the spotlight on one of the world's largest stages.

"Feel like it was a great opportunity to not only get our name out there, but to say that Minneapolis has a lot of talent, and we deserve to be at the table," said Thomas.

Thomas is one of four African American high school students from across the Twin Cities who make up the Legacy Arts Group that is performing at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. The teens are the first group from Minneapolis to attend The Fringe and the first all-Black cast to appear on the main hall stage at the world's largest arts festival.

"We had four shows and each night was sold out, and each night was a standing ovation. So it was beautiful. Couldn't ask for a better run honestly," said Legacy Arts Group Founding Artistic Director Tamiko French.

The students wrote and performed their own play called "The Beautiful Ugly" about navigating everything from the pandemic to civil unrest to gun violence from their own personal experiences. They raised $77,000 to pay for the trip by performing at community events around the metro.

"In this climate that we live, where so many negative stories come out of Minneapolis. That we were able to share an authentic story that showed the resilience, the hope, the truth, as well as the brilliance of the young people that live there," said French.

For Thomas, it was his first trip out of the country, and even though he graduated in June, he hopes the group created enough of a legacy that other students of color will follow in their footsteps.

"Life changing. There is no other way to explain it," said Thomas.