COMMONWEAL THEATRE COMPANY

Rating: 4.92 stars   13 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 208 Parkway Ave N Lanesboro MN 55949 USA

Mission: The Commonweal is a non-profit, professional theatre company dedicated to enriching the common good through actor-based story telling that is both transcendent and relevant. Committed to the values of collaboration, community, diversity, learning and artistic integrity, the Commonweal works to make live theatre accessible to as many as possible.
Geographic areas served: Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Illinois

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been attending Commonweal performances since 2002 and am amazed to find this company of extraordinary artists in this quaint little town.
They bring the plays of Henrik Ibsen to life! So much more enjoyable than high school English class lead me to believe possible. An Enemy of the People is my favorite Ibsen play performance so far.
The comedies have the audiences chortling and smiling all evening. Ah the joy of Little Shop of Horrors, The Odd Couple, and Harvey, just to name a few.
The dramas keep you 'in the moment'; who can forget the memorable To Kill A Mockingbird?
This season was our first opportunity to be Season Pass members (the perks of retirement - enough free time to attend all the shows) and we plan to do it again in 2014! Bravo Commonweal Theatre troupe, I love you all!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Gosh I can't think of anything I'd change.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Every experience at the Commonweal touches my heart and changes me for the better. A talented group of professional artists who treat everyone who walks through their doors like family. An absolute gem in a beautiful hamlet.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

"Greater Tuna!" From the newspaper note sounded like a decent diversion for an evening in this sleepy rural and culturally-remote area, so we attended our first Commonweal performance. Hooked like a ravenous trout on a well-presented caddis fly! How could this level of theatre be happening in a town that in our youth was famous mainly for the Friday cattle auction (still going, by the way), and a tiny cinema where we sometimes necked in the 50's? Since that evening in the 90's we have rarely missed a performance. During that short period of time, we've seen the Commonweal grow from a tiny cadre of actors performing in a tiny converted movie theatre to become the prime cultural force in Southeast Minnesota and a prime example of what a dedicated group of true professionals can do. In our wildest dreams we would never have expected such a cultural transformation in our area, and we are gratified to have been able to be a part of that.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that everyone who comes in contact with the Commonweal--volunteers, donors, media, and (especially) patrons--are treated with the respect and appreciation that reminds them that they are a very important part-indeed the lifeblood-of the Commonweal family.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Incredibly professional and dedicated

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Replicate itself across rural America.

Ways to make it better...

I had become enen more involved earlier.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Financial--finding secure funding to continue the mission. Artistic--balancing the selection of plays to attract broad public support while at the same time challenging us intellectually and dramatically.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I love Ibsen!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

We moved to Lanesboro about six years ago, in large part due to the arts community in town, including the Commomweal Theatre.The quality of the shows performed are quite amazing, especially considering its location in a smaller community, and compare quite favorably with any live performances we ever saw while living in the St.Paul/Minneapolis area. There are quite a variety of productions from The Odd Couple, Rainmaker and Wait Until Dark to plays written by Ibsen, including Peer Gynt, all wonderfully done and well received by the audiences. Something unique about the company is how all the core actors also have other responsibilities within the company such as fundraising, box office, and administrative duties which make them more well rounded and more marketable. They also include the interns in this process, giving them a great education. All of the actors are very engaging and accessible and very visible in the community.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

High quality of the acting and the selection of material presented.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The actors are very gregarious and interact wonderfully with the volunteers and community members. They make us feel part of their group.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 4 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I moved to the Lanesboro area about ten years ago and have volunteered for and attended many performances of our Commonweal Theater since then.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

building a new theater space and extending programs to include more youth.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the convenience of having quality performances available within a half-hour drive.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated to making each performance be the best possible.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

pay off some debt and expand programs to under-served residents (youth, elderly, and financially fragile). The "Lanesboro Nights" help address this need.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

The year was 1994. My life was consumed with difficult challenges ranging from personal to financial. My confidence level was low and not likely to improve. This professional acting company drifted into town like a soothing breeze. How I became aware of their arrival and why I dared tip toe into their world I do not know. I only know that in many ways the experience I had...participating in an educational collaboration between professional and local residents...in some ways saved me. The actors welcomed me, taught me and encouraged me. With my self esteem steadied I was able to move forward again. I have been a faithful patron of the Company since then. I continue to take strength from the work they do. The entire Company always makes me feel I am an important part of who they are and what they do. Now in this time of twitter, tweets and text messages, human communication and comprehension is, in my opinion, devolving. There is nothing inherently wrong with communicating in this manner. But we are losing something. When and where in society today do we find quiet time to embellish to expand the mind’s eye to savor a story and find the message and so much more deep within its context? I reside outside a delightful but very small town in a rural area in Minnesota. My work week is consumed with travel to and from work and with work related tasks. There is little time to do anything more. With my formative college years behind me there are fewer and fewer opportunities for me to balance my life with the rich experience of developing stories and flushing out important themes in an effort to deepen the understanding of the shared human experience. Thank goodness in the year “Twenty-ten” in rural Lanesboro, Minnesota there is this goldmine known as the Commonweal Theatre Company. It is there I continue to take refuge. It is there I can count on the sensitive, wise professional actors to consistently deliver that which I have lost. The chance to lose myself in stories of human strength and frailty. The chance to hear the intonation of the actors’ words and observe the manner of their body language and to let my mind fill in the details around them on the stage. The chance to experience the full tapestry of what might be boiled down to a “tweet.”

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Many experiences are offered and they are ALL great. These include enjoying the "drama unfold where the Root River bends," to learning, to the delight of watching a live radio show production (Over the Back Fence) I've enjoyed ALL of these MOST of all!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Genuine. They are professionals that I respect immensely, but they are my neighbor, they are my friend. I see them walking across the street patronizing businesses in my town. I see them helping out at local community and public school events.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

The Commonweal Theater brings professional high quality theater to our doorstep. We thoroughly enjoy the theater and have supported it since it began in Lanesboro.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

extreme dedication of the actors, staff,and volunteers to maintain the high standards that we have come enjoy at the Commonweal.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

genuinely appreciative of our support and attendance.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

increase its outreach to area schools, increase their residency program, add new productions and workshops and increase awareness of this high quality theater in SE Minnesota.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Our daughters cannot imagine a time without Commonweal. Since childhood they have seen countless performances, formed relationships with the acting company, participated in their educational programs...and in the process it awakened the artist within them. Commonweal's "drama that unfolds where the river bends" has not only enriched our family's life; it enriches and inspires the thriving art communities of the bluff country. Scott and Karen Bingham

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their willingness to "think outside the box". In 2010, they are collaborating with six Spring Grove organizations/businesses, enabling us to underwrite Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

My wife and I have been a host family for several years for Asian high school and college students. The Commonweal Theatre Company's productions are a terrific resource as we introduce our beloved guests to art and culture in the US. They have connected with plays like The Rainmaker in ways I never could have foreseen and have been thrilled and inspired by being able to meet and talk to the very actors who take the stage. The Commonweal's devoted professionalism allows us to share our love of theatre with "our" students, and though the theatre itself resides in a small mid-western town, its influence reaches right across the Pacific.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the quality of its productions and its commitment to education and staging new plays.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Whether you are looking for a “date night” or a “family night out”, the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, MN has a terrific experience waiting for you! Mark and I came to Lanesboro to camp and ride the Root River Bike Trail. What we also discovered is a lively arts community. At the core of this community is the Commonweal Theatre. For over 20 years, this theatre company consistently stages productions that rival major theatre venues. The actors and production staff are passionate about their craft. The audience is frequently invited to participate in “talkbacks” and social gatherings following stage productions. The result is an excellence in live theatre that is consistently growing in stature, donors and record breaking audience attendance. The Commonweal not only focuses upon the current season’s productions, but also looks to grow the future through a variety of educational opportunities. Whether you are a youth looking for a “camp” experience, an actor or production crew member applying for an apprenticeship, or a life long learner seeking an elder hostel, the Commonweal is committed to growing future excellence. Sixteen years ago we came to Lanesboro to camp and bike the trails. We continued coming back, eventually building a home and a life that is greatly enriched by the Commonweal Theatre. The entire Commonweal Theatre community, staff, volunteers and donors, are successfully working to provide a memorable theatre experience for today’s audiences and for the audiences yet to come. You are invited to join us.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

so welcoming that I couldn't wait to come again!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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