Governor's Award Presented to Peninsula Players Theater at Opening of its 79th Season

Governor's Award Presented to Peninsula Players Theater at Opening of its 79th Season

Peninsula Players Theatre, America's oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County's theatrical icon, was presented with the Governor's Award for Arts, Culture and Heritage June 17, the opening night of its 79th season at the world premiere of Sean Grennan's "The Tin Woman." This award is presented to a business or destination that showcases the arts, culture, or heritage for the enhancement and economic well-being of a community.

Dave Fantle - Wisconsin's Deputy Secretary of Tourism presented the award to Artistic Director Greg Vinkler and Managing Director Brian Kelsey in front of a capacity audience at Peninsula Players.

The Governor's Awards acknowledge leadership, commitment, and innovation among the people and organizations that propel the tourism industry forward and is sponsored by the Governor's Council on Tourism.

"The Governor's Tourism Awards recognizes individuals and businesses that have a significant impact on Wisconsin's travel and hospitality industry and set the bar high for their peers," said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett.

"America's Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theater, Peninsula Players Theatre has provided high quality entertainment to Wisconsin visitors since 1935 and helped establish the region's reputation for having one of the very best and most unique performing arts scenes in the nation."

The Governor's citation stated "As America's Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theater, Peninsula Players has been committed to developing the arts and artists in northeastern Wisconsin and Door County since 1935. The theater became the cornerstone of a burgeoning performing and visual arts scene which continues to grow to this day," the citation read. "Since it first opened, Peninsula Players has presented over 450 plays, enhancing the lives of tens of thousands of audience members. Many talented and distinguished actors have graced the stage, establishing a reputation for an outstanding theater experience. Peninsula Players is a pillar in the local community and helped establish the region's reputation for having one of the very best and most unique performing arts scenes in the nation."

Kelsey and Vinkler thanked all the donors and supporters in the audience. "Peninsula Players is very proud to have received this award," Kelsey said. "We are very thankful for all of the local businesses, residents and the many tourists who have supported our organization over the past 79 years."

Vinkler and Kelsey stressed the award is shared by all Peninsula Players, past and present.

"It takes a fully collaborative effort to maintain the special heritage of this grand summer theater, and we are extremely grateful for all those performers, designers, technicians, directors, administrators, volunteers, members of the board of directors, donors and patrons who have returned season after season since 1935 to support Door County's first professional theatrical troupe," said Vinkler.

Peninsula Players was founded by a brother and sister team, Caroline and Richard Fisher, who dreamed of an artistic utopia in the north woods where actors, designers and technicians could focus on their craft while being surrounded by nature in a contemplative setting.

Peninsula Players location along the shore of Green Bay provides a serene location for patrons as well. Prior to performances, patrons relax and picnic on the grounds while watching the setting sun over the waters of Green Bay from the cedar-lined shore and enjoy the ambience of the beer garden and other gardens.

The Fishers' dream lives on as professional actors, directors and designers work side-by-side with college interns while living on the Players 16-acre campus as they bring audiences a variety of works including dramas, mysteries, comedies and musicals. In fall, 2005, the troupe closed its season early to build a new stage house and all-weather audience pavilion.

The Peninsula Players performs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. in the summer. With the opening of the fall show Sept. 3 curtain times are Tuesday through most Sundays at 7 p.m. The closing Sunday performance of each show will have a 4 p.m. matinee, July 6, July 27, Aug. 17, Aug. 31, and Oct. 19.

Discount tickets are available for season ticket holders and groups for the Players 2014 season. Individual ticket prices range from $35 to $44. There are no performances on Mondays. For more information or to reserve tickets phone the Peninsula Players' box office at 920-868-3287 or visit the website at

Photo Credit: Dave Fantle

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