By Jaclyn Johnson
Hey there, friendly reader!
It’s me, Jaclyn June Johnson. I’m the newest team member here at the Commonweal! After living in Wisconsin for the better part of a decade, it’s lovely to again call my native state home. Returning to the state to join the Commonweal fills me with enthusiasm and inspiration. I’ve long been familiar with this company and its legacy of community-mindedness and artistic excellence.
Since my graduation from Cornell College in 2006, I have galvanized my theatre skills both artistically and administratively. I am an Actor, Director, Costume Designer, and Playwright. Collaboration and empathy are at the core of my artistic identity. They also happen to be the reason I find theatre compelling for audience and company, alike. Theatre is the ultimate collaborative art-form, and can be a transcendent exercise in empathy.
After several years as a freelancer, In 2010 I joined St. Croix Festival Theatre’s staff as the Associate Artistic Director. Festival Theatre utilizes a similar Artist/Administrator model. Later I became the Artistic Director. After a planned exit in 2015, I returned the following year as the Co-Artistic Director and helped Festival Theatre to restructure and restrategize as it acquainted itself with a new facility and its new organizational needs. Having worked in theatres all over the country – from Creede Repertory, to Riverside Theatre, to National Theatre for Children – I’ve long admired the Artist/Administer model. From afar, Commonweal has inspired me and countless other multi-talented theatre workers.
In 2020, you will find me in a half-time position in the Commonweal Resident Ensemble as I complete a few other artistic responsibilities, and ensure I see my husband (and our three beautiful cats) whose work has him tethered in Wisconsin (my husband’s work, not the cats’). Towards the end of the 2020 season, I will transition into a more full-time presence in Lanesboro as I take on the role of Development Manager.
This year brings a lot of excitement. I’m performing in two dream roles at St. Croix Festival Theatre – The Witch in Into the Woods, and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible – but it is this dream Artist/Administrator position at Commonweal that is thrilling me the most about my year. Here’s to the intersection of community and artistic excellence, collaboration and empathy!
Thanks for reading, friendly reader! I can’t wait to meet you in person at the Commonweal.
~Jackie (Jaclyn June Johnson)