Dee Seaquist is a longtime patron and great friend of The Commonweal. Earlier this year, Dee agreed to accept a calling to join the Board of Directors of the theatre. Her acceptance was a great joy to us all.
In our ongoing series, 25 Seasons—25 Stories, Dee explains what brought her to the theatre and her reasons for making the commitment to the board.
by Dee Seaquist
As I entered the lobby of the St. Mane Theater in the summer of 1992, I was unaware that this would be the start of a love affair. My family and I were camping in Sylvan Park. It was our first time in the area having come to ride our bikes on the Root River Trail. In the afternoon we roamed around Lanesboro to check things out and had no idea that we had stumbled upon a new home away from home.
What I remember most about our first experience at the Commonweal Theatre was how astonished we were at the quality of the play. Mark (my husband) and I were amazed that this town of 723 people could produce such a fine theatrical experience. Being long time lovers of the arts, we felt we had discovered a jewel in our new summer play ground.
Over the years, we came to call the Lanesboro area our summer home. Each year from May to October, we would come to camp at the Old Barn Resort, ride the bike trails and enjoy the plays at the Commonweal Theatre. In 2008, we built a home in Preston and we felt that the time was ripe to invest more deeply in our community.
Mark & I became Million Dollar Club Members of the Commonweal. We wanted to get to know the stories and life experiences of the Commonweal company members. We love coming to the theatre, many times seeing the plays more than once. We have brought friends, met new friends and have been blessed to be welcomed into the Commonweal family.
Part of the joy of coming to know the artist/administrators and apprentices of the Commonweal are the coffee and dinner dates we have shared. These conversations allow us to listen to the vision, dreams, and challenges of managing a successful regional theatre. I have loved these discussions and longed to invest greater energy to help grow the vision of the Commonweal forward.
Earlier this year, Hal Cropp asked if I would consider serving on the board of directors of the Commonweal. The Common Roots Campaign was getting under way and I have much experience working on such campaigns. In addition, I am passionate about preserving and growing the arts in our midst. It is my firm belief that the stories told on the Commonweal stage and the supportive endeavors of the theatre company in local events and beyond are crucial to the fabric of our living as a culturally engaged community.
There is ample evidence that the arts community of Lanesboro brings a depth and richness to the people who make their home there, and to those who come to enjoy the beauty and activities of the bluff country. Without the arts in our culture, I worry that an observation by Thomas Hobbes could be true; that life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
And so, it is an honor for me to serve on the board of the Commonweal Theatre. To join with my fellow board members, the artist/administrators of the Commonweal, the people of Lanesboro and the larger community in SE Minnesota to work together to move the vision of the Commonweal Theatre forward. To continue to nurture and grow the art of great storytelling in this place.