The Commonweal Theatre currently has much to celebrate. The 2018 season is the company’s 30th and the current apprentice class…now company…is the 10th of its kind. Just think, approximately 40 young theatre artists committed to the Commonweal and enriched Lanesboro as a community on their way to becoming the next generation of theatre-makers. Where are some of those young artists now? Where are the current crop of artists going when they leave us in April? Well, we just happen to have answers to those questions.
Gary Danciu: Gary was a member of the 2010-11 Commonweal apprentice class and then remained in residence with the company through the 2016 season. Gary is now living and working as a freelance actor in Minneapolis and is currently in the cast of Hamlet with Wayward Theatre Co. The element of the Commonweal apprentice program that Gary appreciated the most were the “extensive performance opportunities onstage” and forging many great relationships that he continues to enjoy today.
Sarah Hawkins Moan: Sarah is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN and came to the Commonweal apprentice program in 2008-09. Within a few years following her apprenticeship, Sarah went on to Masters Degree work in acting at Wright State University in Detroit. Sarah still calls Detroit home and is currently teaching theatre on the college level along with being a freelance actor and director. From her time at the Commonweal as an apprentice, she was able to “beef up” her non-profit resume while learning the unique challenges of operating a small, professional theatre company.
Tim Sailer: Tim was a part of the 2009-10 “boy band” apprentice company when the team was made up of all men! Tim has been a consistent member of the company of artists at The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. While being in residence with the Commonweal, Tim loved seeing how the theatre “becomes a touchstone for a community of people–both the locals and the tourists.” It made him realize “how important it is for smaller, rural communities to have regular access high-quality, professional art.”
Mike Swan: Mike spent 2013-14 as an apprentice and remained with the company as an ensemble member through the 2014 season. Mike is now a tour manager for the National Theatre for Children and freelances as an actor in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. The thing Mike values the most from his apprenticeship is the capstone project. At the end of their tenure, the group chooses a play to fully produce on their own which “caps” their time with the company. “Having the opportunity to produce a show of our choice from the ground up,” says Mike, “was very unique. That process was one of the most valuable and rewarding educational experiences I’ve ever had.”
Ana Hagedorn: Ana was in the 2012-13 apprentice class and stayed on with the company in residence through mid-season of 2015. Ana is an M.F.A. candidate at SMU in Dallas, TX, and is set to graduate this spring with that degree. The reason she chose to apply for the program is her belief that the best way to learn about acting is to have strong mentors and an artistic home where you are given support to do the work. “We learn acting by doing,” she said, “and being part of the Commonweal Theatre, I learned from a group of artists that supported me and allowed me to grow.”
Daniel Stock: Daniel came to the theatre as an apprentice in 2010-11. Upon completing his apprenticeship, Daniel joined the resident ensemble, ultimately becoming the box office manager and creating many memorable roles as an actor onstage…there’s no forgetting his King of Bohemia in Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. Currently, Daniel is finishing up his graduate degree work from the University of Georgia with a residency at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. What made the program most valuable for Daniel: “getting to work on different skill sets such as dramaturgy, prop design, sound design, etc., in a safe and supported professional environment was also very rewarding.”
Where Are They Going?
Amanda Pyfferoen: Amanda is a current apprentice and is now in the director’s chair for Salt-Water Moon, the 2017-18 capstone. She is currently applying for internships with larger theatre companies to gain an even more intensive focus of study as a director.
Patrick Vaughn: Also a member of the current class, Patrick is one of two actors featured in Salt-Water Moon and will travel overseas for a six-week summer intensive workshop with the Moscow Art Theatre.