208 Parkway Ave. N.
Lanesboro Minnesota 55949United States
Part of a thriving local arts culture, this popular theater takes a bow to its rural roots.
The 24-year-old Commonweal Theatre Company attracts as many people as the bike trails that put this area on the map. Located in a former cheese factory, the theater offers comedies, family-friendly shows and musicals, but it's built its reputation on the Henrik Ibsen festival. Celebrating the area's Nordic heritage with Ibsen's dark, deep dramas, the festival is so popular, it draws hundreds of visitors in the middle of winter. Come for a great show, but plan to spend some time admiring the unique decor. The theater, which was redone in the early 2000s, flaunts colorful seats from the old Guthrie Theatre in the Twin Cities. In the lobby, be sure to look up to see a collection of thematic chairs hanging from the ceiling: a lawn chair with good novel and a drink; a school-desk chair and supplies; and even a hard hat and lunch box. While walking around, note the illuminated canning jars, each with a donor's name and filled with representative objects such as a tiny globe or Matchbox car. Interior wood and stonework was salvaged from barns, and the bathroom stalls even have farm-tool handles. It all adds up to an artsy, yet accurate reflection of the regional farming community.