Peninsula Players Theatre, like so many other organizations trying to forge ahead in the wake of these unprecedented times, has made an incredibly difficult decision. For the safety of its artists, volunteers, patrons, employees and community, it is canceling the summer performances of its 85th season. At this time, it is the theater’s intention to welcome patrons for a fall production. The organization will continue to monitor the global crisis diligently and will update the public once final decisions have been made.
“After weighing countless scenarios with our Board of Directors and management team, we have determined that closing for the summer is the only viable and responsible path forward,” said Brian Kelsey, managing director. “We love our company members, volunteers and our patrons, and our concern for their continued well-being is our foremost consideration.
“This is not the first time the Peninsula Players has had to cancel performances because of a worldwide crisis. The Players experienced closure during World War II when our company members paused from performing to serve their nation. We approached the current unfolding of events with care and do not make this decision lightly. Though these steps are painful, we are prepared to take them.”
Peninsula Players Theatre is an artistic campus that houses and prepares meals for up to 60 company members in its camp-like atmosphere where it assembles artisans and craftspeople from across the nation.
“Our management staff and design teams have been continuing to work from home, as they do each winter and spring, on designing the shows, ticket sales and more,” said Greg Vinkler, artistic director. “We remain hopeful. At this time, we are planning to present a fall production of one of the shows and are looking to move all the creative work we’ve done thus far on the other shows into the 2021 season.”
The grounds of Peninsula Players Theatre, which are typically open each summer to Door County residents and its many visitors, will remain closed until further notice in accordance with local, state and federal social distancing regulations and guidelines. “We are discouraging the general public from visiting the closed campus,” Kelsey said. “We ask that you provide this necessary space to those who are ensuring the property’s and buildings’ safety and upkeep. We are very much looking forward to picnics, sunsets and bonfires together once it is safe to do so.”
The re-open date of the theater’s grounds and the opening date of its autumn production are yet to be determined.
“We move forward buoyed by the support of our most amazing patrons,” Vinkler said. “Though our stage will remain dark and its audience seats empty this summer, we’ll be keeping the embers very much alive because we fervently believe in the value of theater and the ways we can give audiences wonderful stories about our shared humanity.
“We know these are anxious times, but we embrace the certainty that we will survive through the support of our many friends. Our beloved patrons will gather once again to partake in the Peninsula Players Experience as they have since 1935 and enjoy the plays and musicals that stir their hearts, ignite their imaginations and tickle their funny bones.”
In the next few days, all ticket holders will be offered several options as the theater navigates this unexpected terrain.
“We ask our patrons to please check their email, social media and www.peninsulaplayers.com for further information in the days ahead,” Kelsey said. “The theater plans to continue its e-newsletter ‘Peninsula Players Pastimes’ to stay engaged with our patrons and to lift the spirits of all.”