Information on:

Lanesboro - 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.


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.

Benjamin J Kratchmer

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018
The Commonweal is one of the treasures of the upper Midwest. Every season shows a thoughtful diversity, and every show is wonderfully done. Their residential apprentice program trains young artists and the results are seen in the annual (excellent) apprentice show. The Commonweal is a great experience for those attending a show as well as a positive force in the arts locally and nationwide.

Bailey Peterson

Friday, Dec. 29, 2017
Great production, friendly people. Make sure you get there early though because even though you pay the same as everyone else, if you get stuck in the top row, you're going to be uncomfortable the entire show and that really puts a damper on the experience. All the other seats have armrests and plenty of room, but these chairs are just plain, slightly padded chairs with no armrest and absolutely no arm room so I had to sit forward the entire show to give room to the person on my left and right (otherwise we'd be packed tighter than sardines!). Other than that, the stage was set up nicely and I like that it's covered on 3 sides with audience, instead of the usual stage-audience setup... "270" coverage! ;)

Deidre Kristoff-Goetting

Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017
It is always a pleasure to visit and be among so many talented individuals. Always great performances. Definitely worth the drive. We just saw the Trials of Scrooge and it was perfection. Very funny. I can’t wait until next season.

Scott Murdock

Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018
So great that I could consume other forms of art at this theater. The Stuart Pimsler Dance Theater show hosted AT Commonweal was the perfect blend of perspective, interpretation, gravitas, and societal mirroring that the CommonweL does so well.

Commonweal Theatre Company is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media