Mission and History

The TAP Mission: To entertain and educate by provoking thought, laughter, and tears.

donna theater sturgeon bayA Brief History of TAP

In the late 1990s, a group of people from the Sturgeon Bay arts, business and civic communities rallied to preserve the shuttered Donna movie theater by converting it into an arts center for live performances. Early champions of the project included respected members of the arts community like Fred Alley (American Folklore Theatre), Paul Sills (Second City & Story Theater) and Todd Schmidt and Bob Thompson (Peninsula Players Theatre), who agreed that TAP would be a welcome addition to Door County’s vibrant arts scene.

In October 2000, the newly christened Third Avenue Playhouse opened its doors under the direction of Amy McKenzie and James Kaplan. Their successors were Terry Lundahl and Judy Drew.

TAP’s current co-Artistic Directors Robert Boles and James Valcq arrived in October 2011 and spearheaded a campaign to make one of TAP’s longtime dreams become a reality: the construction of a Studio Theatre space in a former storage area. This 84-seat theatre opened in June 2012 and is home to Door County’s newest professional theatre company – and the county’s only year-round theatre – offering “intimate plays in an intimate setting.”

Since 2012, TAP has produced over 40 fully-staged professional productions of plays, musicals, and opera while continuing to offer a selection of staged readings, concerts, films, and other special events.

The organization is also committed to providing theatre education and performance opportunities for the Door community by offering classes, workshops, and productions by StageKids Theatre. TAP has also entered into partnerships with over a dozen local Nonprofits to raise awareness and funds through a series of concerts showcasing an array of Door County’s finest musicians.

TAP is a proud member of Theatre Communications Group, Arts Wisconsin, the Peninsula Arts & Humanities Alliance, and the Door County Nonprofit Group. Third Avenue Playhouse has been included in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Top Ten Wisconsin Theatre” list in 2015 and 2016.