Plays in the Park program kicks off with free outdoor performance of Hamlet

Something may be rotten in the state of Denmark– but something awesome is coming to the state of downtown Alpena.

On Saturday, November 4th at 6 pm, the Alpena Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Thunder Bay Theatre are launching their new Plays in the Park program with a free public outdoor performance of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.


Plays in the Park is a new program that will offer free, outdoor theater performances in public spaces throughout the downtown. This November’s Hamlet production will take place in the parking lot on Carter Street, right on the river next to the Cellar Building & Holiday Inn Express. The production will begin at 6 pm.

For the performance, a stage will be assembled, a sound system set up, and parts of the set brought to the outdoor venue. Attendees should bring their own chairs and blankets to the event. The DDA will have outdoor heaters set up, as well as warm beverages. ( A November outdoor performance in Northern Michigan? Let’s just say it allows attendees to feel the play’s cold setting of Denmark.)

The Carter Street parking lot, where the event will be held.

“What is being proposed here is somewhat unheard of, in that public professional theatre performances are most popular and available in large metropolises,” explained Jeffrey Mindock, Artistic Director of Thunder Bay Theatre. “The fact that this small community and region will have this opportunity will help put Alpena on the map as a can’t-miss destination.”

Plays in the Park was a concept first developed by previous DDA Director Lesslee Dort. After the success of TBT’s performance of West Side Story at the Band Shell this summer, the two organizations decided it was time to officially launch the program. Over the next five years, the DDA is planning on hosting one fall performance (a Shakespeare production) and one spring performance (a Great American Play) each year in various downtown locations.

An aerial photo of this summer’s West Side Story in Concert performance at the Band Shell. Photo by Zach Irving.

As Alpena– home to six art galleries and studios, movie theaters, a professional theater, film festivals, live concerts, a public library, a maritime museum, and the Besser Museum–  is growing as an arts and cultural destination, this is one more effort to not only promote artistic opportunities within the downtown, but also contribute to the cultural life of the community.

To be or not to be there on November 4th– that should be no question.

Anne Gentry is Executive Director of the Alpena DDA and is beyond excited to bring Shakespeare in the Park(ing lot) to Alpena.








One thought on “Plays in the Park program kicks off with free outdoor performance of Hamlet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s