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'It gives me great pride': Door County Theatre receives nearly $4.3 Million campus upgrade

Posted at 5:27 PM, Nov 14, 2023
  • Video shows the new $4.3 Million dormitory project on Peninsula Players Theatre's campus.
  • The state granted $330,000 in ARPA funds towards the project.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Through private donors, foundations, and a grant from the state of Wisconsin, a big upgrade was made to Peninsula Players Theatre's campus. I’m your Door County neighborhood reporter Katlyn Holt and this upgrade was just shy of $4.3 Million.

"To give them something that's comfortable and something that makes them feel valued and welcomed," said Kelsey.

Brian Kelsey, the Managing Director for Peninsula Players Theatre, says from May through October theatre staff lives on its Fish Creek campus.

In 2019, Kelsey says they wanted to add some additional housing, to replace prior dormitories from the 1930s through the 1960s.

After a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic until 2022, when they were able to move forward.

"We worked very hard in through the whole process of fundraising for the structures. So, we were at the final 10% of what we needed to raise a little bit less than that when this news came through about a grant from the state," said Kelsey.

In the beginning of November, Kelsey got news the state would help them reach their goal of nearly 4.3 million dollars.

"We received $330,000 in a grant from the state of Wisconsin through ARPA funds," said Kelsey.

The grant helped them build two new structures that will house 31 people.

The Peninsula Players welcome 40,000 guests annually, which is huge for the local economy as they stay at local hotels, eat at restaurants, and pay sales tax on their tickets.

"The old housing units were never meant to be housing,” said Szmanda.

Danielle Szmanda, the Development Director for Peninsula Players Theatre says the difference is night and day.

“They were all repurposed structures that were created to work for housing," said Szmanda.

She says these new facilities not only offer everyone modern conveniences and amenities for a better living experience, but they're also a way of investing in the arts and the community.

Kelsey says this upgrade improves everyone's experience.

"It is a relief. It gives me great pride that when we welcome our company, I’m not embarrassed to show them where they live, I can show them with pride," said Kelsey.

Peninsula Players Theatre will be back in June of 2024 for its 89th season. Check their website for updates to the schedule.