The Commonweal Theatre Company announces performance dates for its 2017 Free County Night Program. Theatre lovers living and/or working in Fillmore or Houston Counties are invited to attend—free of charge—Henrik Ibsen’s final play about one man’s search for humanity in When We Dead Awaken on Thursday, April 20; a triumph of the human spirit The Elephant Man on Thursday, May 25; a celebration of friendship with Steel Magnolias on Thursday, June 29; the romantic and mysterious Ghost-Writer on Thursday, Sept. 14; and a delightful spoof on an old classic The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge on Thursday, Nov. 30.
Following the tradition of previous seasons, the Commonweal is renewing its commitment to local charities through a “pay it forward” approach. As a non-profit, the Commonweal relies on generous donations from audiences and corporations to sustain programming; in turn, the theatre extends that generosity to the community five nights a year with the offer of free tickets. The intention is to remove any cost barrier for Commonweal’s closest neighbors to attend their local professional theatre. The 2017 Season will again encourage patrons to contribute items to a social or service organization chosen based on specific themes of season productions. The opportunity to donate will be available for the entire run of each production, but primarily focuses on those patrons attending the complimentary performances.
Previous charitable contributions have been very successful with the most popular being the more than 75 new art supplies collected during the run of A Christmas Carol in 2016, which were donated to the Mayo Clinic’s Eugenio Litta Children’s Hospital.
For the Commonweal’s first productions of the season, When We Dead Awaken and The Elephant Man, the partner charity is Paws & Claws Humane Society which is committed to sheltering, protecting and seeking adoptive homes for abandoned or lost companion animals. A list of items that will be accepted is available by visiting www.pawsandclaws.org. During the performance period of Steel Magnolias, the donor charity will be the Semcac Fillmore County Food Shelf. For Ghost-Writer, the theatre will partner with Rochester’s House of Compassion, an organization that provides housing for Mayo Clinic patients and their caregivers. Finally, the ever popular “Art for Kids” returns during the run of The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge. For a complete list of acceptable donation items, call the theatre at (800) 657-7025.
All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and while admission is free of charge to residents and employees of Fillmore and Houston Counties, seating is limited and reservations are strongly recommended at least two weeks in advance. There is a limit of four tickets per household. Free County Nights at the Commonweal Theatre are made possible with support from the Houston Dental Clinic, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Lanesboro and Winona, POET Biorefining, Rushford Community Foundation and Nethercut Schieber Law Office.
Funding for the Commonweal Theatre’s programming is provided in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, a grant from the McKnight Foundation and other private funders. For more information about the 2017 season, visit www.CommonwealTheatre.org. To check availability and to reserve tickets, contact the box office at (800) 657-7025.