Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Door Shakespeare will be celebrating its 25th anniversary year in a home of its own.
In late November, the theater company took possession of the building at 10038 Hwy 57 in the Town of Liberty Grove. Perhaps best known as the original site of Celeste Wegman Interiors, it will house the theater’s administrative offices, box office, costume storage and rehearsal space. Amy Ensign, Managing Director, and Michael Stebbins, Producing Artistic Director, began settling into their new surroundings in December.
Door Shakespeare’s move comes after many years in downtown Baileys Harbor, the last six in a building which fronted Highway 57. Ensign learned early in 2019 that the theater company’s lease would not be renewed in 2020.
“My first thought” she recalls, “was that we’d never be able to find another rental with the wonderful visibility we had in Baileys Harbor.”
At first, Ensign’s fears seemed well-founded, but in the fall, a donor who knew of the organization’s situation offered to fund a purchase. Soon after, board chair Carl Zapffe became aware of the Liberty Grove property, and things came together quickly.
In addition to visibility, the building provides expanded space, a flexible floor plan and inviting outdoor areas.
Stebbins commented, “We’ll be experimenting and learning how to use the space throughout the year, but it’s very exciting to have the prospect of perhaps hosting small events or gatherings in our own home.”
An open house and ribbon cutting ceremony are planned for the spring.
Door Shakespeare was founded in 1995 under the umbrella of the then-named American Folklore Theatre. Since becoming its own nonprofit in 1999, the organization has produced 40 striking productions of classical theater by playwrights including Shakespeare, Moliere, and Oscar Wilde in the Garden of Björklunden’s 405-acre estate on Lake Michigan in Baileys Harbor.