Commonweal Theatre Company announces 18th annual Ibsen Festival

Published 10:01 am Sunday, April 12, 2015

Scott Dixon and Ana Hagedorn in The Master Builder.  Photo courtesy Brandt Roberts

Scott Dixon and Ana Hagedorn in The Master Builder. Photo courtesy Brandt Roberts

LANESBORO — The Commonweal Theatre Company announces its 18th Annual Ibsen Festival April 17-19 in downtown Lanesboro.

Named for Henrik Ibsen, the acclaimed “Father of Modern Drama,” the festival is a celebration of Scandinavian theatre, visual art, music and dance, centered amidst the opening of Commonweal’s annual Ibsen production. This yearly gathering of artists and craftsmen was honored in 2008 by the Norwegian Government, who awarded the Commonweal Theatre one of only four inaugural International Ibsen Scholarships in recognition of its ongoing commitment to producing the works of Ibsen, one of the world’s premiere playwrights.

Highlighting this year’s festival is the opening of a world premiere adaptation of Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” at 7:30 p.m. on April 18. The action of the play focuses on Halvard Solness, a successful but dangerously narcissistic architect. His obsession with the past and fear of the future make one of Ibsen’s final masterworks a must-see. The play is adapted by Minnesota playwright Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by guest artist Lee Gundersheimer, the managing director of Great River Shakespeare Festival.

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“The Master Builder” is Hatcher’s sixth Ibsen adaptation created for the Commonweal. The production of “The Master Builder” runs through June 13 at the theatre in downtown Lanesboro.

The Ibsen Festival offers events and presentations throughout the weekend to allow guests to experience Norwegian culture through a variety of ways.

The Commonweal will welcome Dr. Marvin Carlson and Darrell Henning to deliver two special lectures. Dr. Carlson is The Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. His research and teaching interests include dramatic theory and Western European theatre history and dramatic literature, especially of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Darrell Henning graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.A. in anthropology/archaeology and earned his M.A. in history museum studies at the Cooperstown Graduate Program in New York. He worked at the Nassau County Historical Museum (Old Bethpage Village Restorations), Long Island, New York for five years, before returning to Decorah as curator of Vesterheim.

A complete schedule of festival events is available at