Fish Creek, Wis. (April 8, 2020) – Northern Sky Theater, in Door County, Wisconsin, has announced that it will cancel its 2020 outdoor season in Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek, and delay the start of the indoor season in the new Gould Theater. The company hopes to present an abbreviated run of “Dad’s Season Tickets” in the Gould, beginning as soon as circumstances allow. Northern Sky’s fall season schedule at the Gould remains unchanged for the time being: “Naked Radio,” scheduled to run September 11–October 31, and “And If Elected,” October 9–29.
The decision to cancel the outdoor season at the park comes after the company analyzed numerous scenarios, including the financial ramifications of delaying the opening of the park shows.
“The park season is a large operation that requires a significant investment in upfront and fixed costs,” stated Dave Maier, managing director. “Our performance window there is only 11-12 weeks, so a major opening-day delay would make our outdoor season financially untenable. Our indoor season, however, requires much less upfront preparation time, making a late start in the Gould more manageable. ” Maier added, “Ultimately, the difficult decision came down to what was most responsible for the safety of our cast and crew, our volunteers, our patrons and our community as a whole.”
Northern Sky typically employs over 60 seasonal cast, crew and support staff from mid-May through Labor Day. Company members join them from across the country. Northern Sky also relies on the help of over 270 volunteers to assist with many customer-service and maintenance functions.
The company was poised to celebrate several anniversaries in 2020, including 50 years of performing in its outdoor home in Peninsula State Park, 30 years as a professional company, and its first full season in the new Gould Theater.
“This is a tough one,” said Jeff Herbst, artistic director. “We have cast and crew that rely on us year after year for their summer employment and loyal fans, who make attending Northern Sky in the park part of their Door County experience.”
Although the decision to cancel an outdoor season is unprecedented by the troupe, the company has weathered tough times in the past.
“The death of Fred Alley in 2001 with 9/11 falling on the heels of that loss was a very bleak time. Fred was one of our most prolific writers and performers, and there were certainly some days that we wondered how we would go on,” added Herbst. “But you know what’s been constant? Our patrons, our supporters and our volunteers. They have been by our side cheering us on through it all.”
“We are crossing our fingers that it will still be possible to welcome patrons to the Gould Theater this season. By acting now and making this tough choice to suspend our plans in the park, the company will be able to conserve resources and maintain a state of readiness,” said Maier.
“Ultimately, this is the responsible thing to do in light of the national crisis,” Herbst added. “Obviously we want to keep on doing what we do. Who doesn’t, right? But we can’t, yet. So, like everyone else, we’ll adjust and figure out how to keep creating new works in a new way and keep building on our thirty-year history.”