compiled by Jeremy van Meter
As we approach the opening of Season 25 at the Commonweal, we welcome two new members to our fantastic Board of Directors. These individuals toil behind the scenes yet are an integral part of the week to week functioning of the theatre. We are pleased to welcome Dee Seaquist and Rick Walters to the Commonweal Board.
Together with my husband, Mark, and daughter, Kristen, we moved to the twin cities in 1987 settling in Bloomington. We are avid bicyclists and discovered the Root River Trail in 1992. That same year we also found the Commonweal Theatre. It was love at first sight and we have been enjoying the theatre seasons year after year. In 2008, we built a summer home in Preston and now split our time between Preston and our Saint Louis Park condo in the twin cities.
My husband, Mark, and I are lifelong lovers of the arts in general and theatre patrons and supporters. Our favorite venues include the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, the Guthrie in Minneapolis, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Hennepin Avenue Theaters in Minneapolis, the Ordway in Saint Paul, the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, and of course, the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro.
My passion is really engaged at the Commonweal Theatre. The Commonweal is a miracle of great plays, superb actors, directors and technical crews with great passion not only for the performing arts but also for the patrons who walk through the door. The Commonweal is such a special unique enterprise that Mark & I feel compelled to ongoing support.
As a member of the board, I bring an attitude of a servant leader with 20 plus years of non-profit organization experience both as board/council member and staff.
Born in Tampa, Florida, I grew up in the Mid-West in Illinois and Indiana. Prior to moving to Minneapolis in 1995, my wife Sanna and I called Indianapolis home for about 12 years. Indiana is still home to most of our family, and though I’ve lived the past 18 years in the upper-midwest, when it comes to basketball, I still cheer for IU.
We moved from Minneapolis to La Crosse, WI in 2001, when I accepted the position as head of the acting program and theatre department chair at Viterbo University.
My first connection with the Commonweal was in 1995 when I auditioned for Hal Cropp at the University of Minnesota as a graduate student in the MFA Acting program. I saw my first play at the Commonweal in 1997—Bullshot Crummond—and have enjoyed many wonderful production experiences ever since, including performing as an understudy for the vacationing David Hennessey in The Complete Works of Shakespeare—Abridged in 2004.
My interest in serving on the Board of the Commonweal is aligned with the same impulse that attracted me to join the faculty at Viterbo University—a commitment to creating theatre and training theatre artists in communities beyond major metropolitan theatre centers. The Franciscan sisters who founded Viterbo have a legacy of supporting and making quality theatre happen for the benefit of educating students and enriching the community. They’ve done so by creating an arts culture, not only for the benefit of La Crosse, but for the region. Commonweal is a living example of professional theatre that enriches lives and communities not only in Lanesboro, but regionally. I am continually impressed by the quality and integrity of the work, and the company’s active commitment to nurturing young artists.