A Permanent Home for Rogue Theater

After years of taking its show on the road, Rogue Theater will have a permanent venue to call home this year. 

The brick-and-mortar base, which is planned for 917 N. 14th Ave. in Sturgeon Bay, is a departure from the wandering troupe’s beginnings, when it performed in different locations up and down the county, said co-founder Stuart Champeau. This includes its popular murder-mystery dinner-theater pop-ups, which Rogue will continue to offer anually. Staging shows in a variety of interesting venues each year is something that makes the company unusual.

“We will continue to do those,” Champeau said, but a place to call home will provide new opportunities, including a larger stage. With that larger stage comes a grander vision for bigger casts and productions, such as musicals.

The new Door County space isn’t Rogue Theater’s first, but after unexpected circumstances forced it from previous locations, this new building is going to be permanent. 

“We’re not moving again,” Champeau said.

Rogue Theater continued to perform during 2020 through a drive-in style of outdoor theater, which the troupe may continue to deliver this year. But, Champeau hopes people will be able to see shows in the new space as early as this summer, with concrete poured this spring. 

“It’ll go up fairly fast,” he said.

The building’s floor plan was laid out with the theater in mind. Submitted.

No matter how audiences experience Rogue Theater’s 2021 season, Champeau knows that people want theater to return – the energy of live performance that’s experienced mutually by both audience and actors. This transfer of energy is especially important in community theater, where actors perform not because it’s their job, but because they love that feeling.

“If you’re not doing live theater in front of people, you don’t get to thrive off their energy,” Champeau said.  

The company is using the winter to raise money to furnish the theater with curtains, lights, a soundboard and more through an online campaign on its Facebook page.

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