Is There a Doctor in the House?

It’s not often that a theater is fortunate enough to have a retired director come knocking on its door, but when Arthur “Doc” Hopper retired from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 2005, that’s exactly what he did. Hopper was Emeritus Professor of Theatre and Chairman of the Theatre and Dance Department at Stevens Point, and when he and his wife, Dee, decided to retire, they knew this is where they wanted to be. After seeing a production of The Guys and meeting with Judy Drew (the executive director of Third Avenue Playhouse (TAP) at the time), Hopper knew that he had something to offer.

So, in 2010, Hopper directed Tuesdays with Morrie and began his volunteer efforts with a theatre he loves. “We retirees come to Door County because Door County has something to give us. We all should, if physically able, give back to the community. Many are not monetarily wealthy, but our time and our talents are a valuable commodity as well.”

When asked “What would you like to accomplish at TAP through your volunteering?” Hopper wasted no time in responding, “Get more people sitting in the seats! We go to see so many performances, and I think to myself, everyone in Door County should have seen this!”

While not everyone is qualified to be a “volunteer director,” there are numerous opportunities for children, teens and adults to be part of this thriving theatre. Concessions, box office help, ushers, construction, costuming, seamstresses – volunteers are needed everywhere!

Hopper’s love and dedication to the theatre are clear when he speaks of the volunteers at TAP. “What people don’t realize, is that every ‘TAPWorks’ and ‘for Kids, by Kids’ performance is completely done by volunteers. These in-house productions help to offset expenses and keep ticket prices low. It takes a collaborative effort to bring these shows to life, and when people realize that there’s no reimbursement for anyone involved, they begin to understand that people are doing it for the greater good of our community.”

This November, Hopper will be directing Shirley Valentine, a one-woman show about an ordinary working class Liverpool housewife and her life transforming holiday abroad. There’s no doubt that “Doc” will be “in the house” working tirelessly to make this performance one that will “fill the seats.”

For additional information regarding volunteer opportunities at Third Avenue Playhouse, please contact Vicki Wittenberg at 920.743.1760 or via email at [email protected].

For volunteer opportunities at other nonprofit organizations in Door County, please visit the or contact the Volunteer Center at 920.746.7704.