The Minnesota

​Territorial Pioneers

Established May 11, 1897 - Incorporated 1924

2006 Minnesotan of the Year

Previous Award Recipients

Minnesotan of the Year

Hal Cropp

Actor, Director and Executive Director of the Commonweal Theater in Lanesboro MN

Harold N. Cropp grew up in upstate New York. He was introduced to the theatre at summer camp and that  interest continued throughout his high school and college years.  After earning an undergraduate degree in business from Brown University and an MBA from Santa Clara University, he worked in the medical field as an administrator. His interest in theatre remained, and drove him to earn a Masters in Fine Arts from the Denver National Theatre Conservatory.  While a student there he met Eric Bunge, founder of the Commonweal Theatre.  This is the connection that brought him to Lanesboro, where he has lived and worked since 1992. In addition to acting and directing, Mr. Cropp has served as the Executive Director of the Commonweal since 1994.  

Lanesboro is a tiny farming community of less than 800 residents, but it is home to the Commonweal's paid repertory company. A script by Robert Wolf traced the lives of local farm families and became "Heartland Portrait,"  which played to audience and critical acclaim in 1998.   The Commonweal is the only theatre company in North America with an annual commitment to producing the works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.  Under Cropp's leadership, the Ibsen Festival has gained regional, national, and international recognition. In 2006, the 100th anniversary of Ibsen's death, the Commonweal honored the Father of Modern Drama, celebrating his legacy with a special schedule of events.  

Cropp received a Sally Award for Initiative from the Ordway Theatre in 2006. In 2008, the Commonweal received one of only four scholarships awarded by the Norwegian Government for International Ibsen Projects.