A Unique Company
To enrich the common good through actor based story telling which is both transcendent and relevant.”
—Commonweal Mission Statement
Since 1989, the professional artists of the Commonweal have brought to life soulful stories told with honesty and creativity. Located in the heart of southeast Minnesota’s bluff country, Lanesboro (pop. 750) is home to the company’s theatre in its historic downtown.
2019—our 31st season of continuous operation—brought the Commonweal to rare heights; we nearly matched our all-time high-mark for attendance at our mainstage season shows! 2020, as we all know, presented some serious challenges, necessitating that we close our doors to the public. But we adapted, and offered several wonderful productions virtually.
The Year in Review report covers all the highlights. Just click the cover image to download and enjoy a copy (It’s a PDF file, best viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Images are low-resolution to save file size; for a high-res printable version, call us).
2017 Minnesota Nonprofit Award for Excellence
More About Us
A Distinctively Organized Repertory Company
The heart of the Commonweal’s programming is the mainstage season. This balanced yet challenging repertory is traditionally comprised of five plays with more than 180 performances, chosen from among the world’s finest classic, contemporary, and emerging playwrights. Because Lanesboro is located amidst a high concentration of Norwegian-American families, the Commonweal produced the works of Henrik Ibsen for 20 consecutive years, culminating in 2017 with a production of Ibsen’s final play, When We Dead Awaken. The company boasts a distinctive organizational model with resident ensemble members (who have come from all over the country to make their home in the Lanesboro area) fulfilling the day-to-day artistic and operational needs of the company as artist/administrators.
Our Beautiful Home
In July 2007—to widespread acclaim—the new $3.5 million Commonweal facility opened next door to its original home. While offering patrons a welcoming, intimate experience in a 200-seat house, the exterior façade recreates three charming Lanesboro shop fronts, and the interior design focuses on the natural beauty and history of the region with barn doors acting as bathroom stalls, stone walls mirroring the surrounding bluffs, concrete floors reflecting the building’s prior life as a cheese factory, and seats reclaimed from the original Guthrie Theatre.
Focus on Education
The Commonweal Theatre maintains that each artist is most fully realized when engaged simultaneously in creating, teaching, and learning. Every year, we reach hundreds of students through educational outreach. We offer student matinees and pre-show workshops for middle and high school students. Commonweal’s apprenticeship program immerses new and recent graduates in the artistic and administrative operation of a professional theatre company.