Information on:

Commonweal Theatre Company

208 Parkway Avenue North

Our Mission: To enrich the common good through actor based story telling which is both transcendent and relevant.

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.

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 produces the works of Henrik Ibsen annually, and remains the only theatre company in North America with such a commitment.

The Commonweal also has an active new play development program, and has produced more than two dozen world premieres in its history.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.

A New Home

In July 2007, the $3.5 million Commonweal facility opened to widespread acclaim. 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 more than 4,000 students of all ages through year-round educational outreach. Commonweal artists teach master classes at regional colleges and universities, offer student matinees and pre-show workshops for middle and high school students, and provide week-long Road Scholar programs to life-long learners (sponsored by Winona State University). Commonweal's apprenticeship program immerses new and recent graduates in the artistic and administrative operation of a professional theatre company.


Lisa Lucier

Thursday, July 12, 2018
The theater building is super nice now -- like the theater in the round seating. Acting always great here. Spelling bee play was really well acted and fun.

Dee Slinde

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Intimate, excellent. What else do you need? Definitely worth the drive, and often worthy of a second visit on the same production. The quality of the acting is rock solid and deep, and the opportunity they provide to theatre interns is pretty amazing.

Keith V

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
This small town gem was quite the find. Celebrating their 30th season this year. The theater is smallish, but it wraps the stage on the sides giving it a classical feel. The seats are comfortable and the theater is very clean. The staff is mostly friendly. If you are staying in one of the hotels or B&Bs, you get a really good discount on the tickets. If you get your tickets first, the theater will NOT refund the difference. They are not good about returning phone messages. These last two items is why I give them four stars. While the theater is nice and the actors superb, the customer service is lacking.

Nancy Dumke

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Enjoyed The Clean House at the Commonwheel! It's worth the drive to Lanesboro.

Violet Walk

Sunday, May 20, 2018
The tri-state area is very fortunate to have the Commonweal Theatre in its midst for 30 years. Every year they continue to grow professionally.

Commonweal Theatre Company is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media