Our Theatre, at a glance
One of the sharpest, most innovative small regional theatres in the country”
— Smithsonian Magazine
The Commonweal, now in its 32nd season of presenting live professional theatre, entertains about 21,000 playgoers every year – in a town with a population of 750. To match that feat proportionally, Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater would have to sell nearly 12 million tickets every year!
The first theatre company to receive the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Award for Excellence
Performing in a multi-million-dollar facility that showcases the work of local visual artists, the Commonweal employs 15 full-time actors and other theatre professionals with an additional 10-15 part-time employees each year.
An integral part of the cultural fabric of the area” — The Rochester Post-Bulletin
Since 1989, more than 415,000 people have attended performances at the Commonweal. The theatre has grown from producing two plays in its inaugural season to more than 200 performances every year, including mainstage offerings, partnership productions with the Lanesboro Arts Center, young-artist showcases, and multiple new play readings and productions.
For 20 years, the Commonweal included a Henrik Ibsen play in its season, hosting the only Ibsen Festival in the U.S. Many of these productions were new adaptations of Ibsen’s works, commissioned by the Commonweal and penned by celebrated writer Jeffrey Hatcher, the screenwriter of “Mr. Holmes,” “The Duchess,” and the upcoming “The Good Liar.” For its commitment to Ibsen, the Norwegian government awarded the Commonweal one of its first International Ibsen Scholarships.
“A regional theatre powerhouse” — Home & Away magazine, a publication of AAA
Lanesboro – A Home for Artists
Smithsonian Magazine included Lanesboro on its list of “America’s 20 Best Small Towns,” citing the presence of the Commonweal as the town’s central appeal.
ArtPlace, a collaboration committed to accelerating creative community revitalization, named Lanesboro one of the Top Twelve Small-Town ArtPlaces in the country.
The Chicago Tribune celebrated Lanesboro for its commitment to artists, its natural beauty, and its status as the Bed-and-Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.
Mother Earth News opined that, on a per capita basis, Lanesboro might be the most vibrant small town in America.