April 20, 2015   


Contact: Holly Feldman, Director of Development & Public Relations

(920) 854-6117 x105


Northern Sky Theater Seeks Rezoning In Gibraltar





FISH CREEK, WI: This week, Northern Sky Theater, the new name of American Folklore Theatre, submitted a Petition for Zoning Amendment to the Town of Gibraltar Plan Commission, the Gibraltar Town Board and the Door County Planning Department. The petition requests rezoning of a 17-acre parcel of land on the southeast corner of County A & F in Fish Creek to "Commercial". The parcel is currently zoned "Countryside" and is owned by Stella Maris Parish.


Northern Sky hopes to purchase the land from Stella Maris and build a Rehearsal and Operations Center. While the company will continue to perform its summer season at Peninsula State Park, this project aims to improve its ability to create, produce, and support all the aspects of the organization that happen behind the scenes.


"For the past twenty-five years, we've been entertaining thousands of folks with our special brand of musical theater," stated Artistic Director, Jeffrey Herbst. "Making these musicals takes a ton of preparatory work that happens offsite. The primary element we are missing is a home base that is customized for doing what we, and only we do: create new musicals written especially for our Door County audiences."


Northern Sky currently operates from a host of rented facilities spread all over the county. It has its business office in Ephraim, shop and costume space in Baileys Harbor, rehearsal space in Egg Harbor, and storage space in Fish Creek.


"The rehearsal space we used for years was not climate-controlled and had no dedicated restrooms," added Dave Maier, Managing Director. "We often find ourselves not knowing if a venue will be available for rent, making it difficult to map out long-term plans for development of the new works that are vital to our future."


The integrated campus would merge all of Northern Sky's support operations and house two buildings. The Creative/Support Center (about 14,000 sq. ft.) would include administrative offices, box office functions, practice rooms, and a costume shop. This building would also house a rehearsal space that will be flexible in converting to an intimate, 200-seat performance space. The second building would house a scenery and carpentry shop (about 8,000 sq. ft.).


Northern Sky has partnered with the renowned architectural firm Strang, Inc. out of Madison, WI. Strang designed the Touchstone Theater for American Players in Spring Green, WI and has a reputation for incorporating a special reverence for the local ecology and history of the land into its design work.


"Our board is fully committed to this project," stated Board Chair, Mary Seeberg. "Northern Sky has a history of being a supportive and caring community partner. We pledge to stay the same good neighbors for the next generations of Door County theater lovers."


Should the rezoning request be approved, Northern Sky will appeal to the commission to issue a "Fine Arts Venue" conditional use permit for the property.





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