"History Alive Lanesboro uses storytelling and the performing arts to deepen the understanding of past ideas, events, and people, as seen through the lens of our small Minnesota town and region.”
Who Are We?
A non-profit, 501.c.3 educational and performance group based in historic Lanesboro, Minnesota that creates history-based arts programming with small town themes. We offer our Pop-up Plays, town tours, speakers, touring plays, and Movie and Story events featuring narrated videos of past Pop–up Plays.
Audience watches History Alive! Pop-up Play scene in first show, 2015.
1930's Civilian Conservation Corps boys at the ready.
Our Pop-Up Plays
Offered two weekends each year, they open a window into small-town life in America in various eras and various Lanesboro locations. The collection of plays, now on video, reflect the life, characters, events, and issues of small Midwestern towns between 1869 and WWII and more eras may be coming. Effort is made to include women and minorities cultures as well.
All research and details for our Pop-Up Plays come from archives at Lanesboro History Museum, in Lanesboro, Minnesota.
Playwright, Director and Founder, Jane Peck, leads casts of 35 people in these well-researched music and dance-filled plays that travel throughout Lanesboro’s historic streets and buildings and memories.
Prior to moving to Lanesboro, Jane created history performances with her company Dance Revels Moving History and with school groups in the Twin Cities for over twenty years.
The first History Alive! Pop-up Play was created in 2015 by Jane as a personal artistic project. The result was a successful new, active and local history theater form and the rest is history! Community members wanted to do more Pop-up Plays, so our non-profit was formed in December 2016 to safely allow grants and donations. We are grateful to Southeast Minnesota Arts Council for many years of grant funding and to all of our donors. Six Pop-up Plays have followed: a new one each year. In addition, we have toured scenes from the Pop-up Plays all across Minnesota to new audiences. We are grateful to all members of our board of directors from 2016-2022!
“Year after year we learn more and appreciate the stories of our community. I love watching the people I know portray people I once knew!”
“I drove 100 miles to see it and wasn’t disappointed! I didn’t realize what a rich heritage this area has. The plays were brilliant and very well developed.”
Our Community Impact
Audiences come to our Lanesboro Pop-up Plays from all over Minnesota and its five neighboring states. Each new play requires many oral interviews of area family members about past events. The families are proud to see their stories and history appreciated on stage, and audiences learn about small town life by watching.
With 35 performers, 25 back stage helpers and staff, and nearly 400 annual audience members, History Alive Pop-up Plays have a big reach! Our performers range from novice to professional and age 6 through 76.
At the end of 2022 we held a feedback session with Lanesboro residents both in person and in writing. Our goal was to assess how to make changes we planned for 2023. We so appreciate everyone’s input including their wish to “keep doing more plays!”. We will implement these ideas beginning in summer 2024. We are on hiatus throughout 2023 and early 2024.
In May 2023 a wonderful new board of directors of professional women was elected who support Director Peck and History Alive’s mission!
All business that had been on hold was quickly addressed by the new directors.
Our new Board Members:
Board Member Rachel Storlie
A Statement from Our Board Members
“Whereas the 2023 History Alive Lanesboro (HAL) show was abruptly cancelled with preparations well underway and widely advertised, this hurt the reputations of History Alive Lanesboro as well as Executive Director Peck. We, the new HAL 2023 Board of Directors, welcome Executive Director Peck back in her proper place. We are grateful to Executive Director Peck for her years of work and contributions to our community through History Alive Lanesboro. The new HAL board will strive to return to the original mission and values of HAL going forward. “