At the end of The Michiana Shores Theatre Colony, Inc.’s inaugural season in 1941, The Michiana Log editorialized "We…are proud to have such a fine building, one of the latest architectural designs and one that meets all the requirements for the state for...safety...It is the last word in summer theatres and there is no summer theatre that can surpass this one."
That was an appropriate tribute to a wonderful facility right in our own backyard, now known as The Dunes Summer Theatre, a non-profit organization. Unfortunately, over the years that proud building fell on some very hard times. If you have visited the Theatre over the last several years, you have seen a building and surrounding facilities in severe distress with broken equipment, seriously run down buildings, leaky roofs, bad plumbing, haphazard electrical, and, in some cases like the Pavilion and dance room, abandoned and heart-breaking, awful spaces. The management did what they could to keep things from collapsing entirely, but they were, at best, just able to keep things from falling further into disrepair. It was simply an unsafe place for both our patrons and players.
Then, in May of 2016, the DAF received a tremendous gift. During the Theatre’s early glory days, a young student from the Goodman School of Theatre, by the name of Eric Nordholm, interned with the Theatre. He remained actively involved through his adult years and created sets to be admired. In his last will and testament, Mr. Nordholm gifted DAF an endowment of over $285,000. Since then, the DAF management have used those funds, along with the kind contributions of others, including my wife’s and my funding of the makeover of all 8 cabins, to start to turn the Theatre around and give it the love and care it so rightfully deserves. If you visited the Theatre to see this season’s opening production, RED, a play by John Logan, or joined us for our Season Kick-off event, A Splash of Red, hosted by Honorary Chairman, Mayor Ron Meer, you will have seen the start of those efforts.
First and foremost in our minds is the comfort and safety of you, our customers. You will find a completely revamped air conditioning and electrical system powering the Theatre; a state of the art lighting system that rivals the best the industry can offer and replaces a terribly unsafe system of the past; repaired roofing and plumbing in all of the public areas; completely rebuilt cabins to house our interns and visiting actors in safe and comfortable spaces; and a host of smaller safety and other upgrades that you need to look a little harder to find, but which are equally important to your comfort and safety (such as testing for and treating mold, and removing the daredevil bats who graced performances).
Rest assured, we are just getting started. We have worked tirelessly to put out the metaphorical life-threatening fires running through the facilities, but there is much more to do. We have a punch list taller than I am (and I'm 6'3"). But funds and volunteer support are a necessary focus going forward. To get where we are today, we have used over 2/3s of the endowment, and Sally and I are way over budget in getting cabins rebuilt. The rest depends on you and the community's support. Whether you purchase a ticket to a play, make an online donation, or volunteer your time, your gift and efforts will help protect one of the regions' oldest and most cherished jewels, and help in Michigan City's revitalization efforts. Your support is greatly appreciated. To make a donation online, visit our Support page. To volunteer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a corporation or small business participating in the United Way Day of Caring Event on August 4, 2017, then please click here and help our star shine brighter.