Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Tucci, Albert D.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Theatre Arts


Southern Lakes Repertory Theatre; Theater management--Wisconsin--Williams Bay


In March of 1985 four graduate students from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois decided to form a theatre company and operate a professional summer-stock theatre. This decision was prompted by the discovery of the availability of the historic Belfry Theatre in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Williams Bay is located on the northwestern shore of Geneva Lake in southern Wisconsin, and is frequented by many summertime vacationers. The responsibilities for direction of the company were divided between the four students. Jay Sierszyn served as the Managing Director and was responsible for all of the administrative and operational procedures that were implemented. These operations included: formation of the Limited Partnership; management of the budget; formation of purchasing and accounting methods, including tax obligations; composition and execution of the lease, contracts, and insurance policies; management of the box office and ticket sales; development and implementation of the marketing plan and public relations; and general management of the day-to-day operation of the company. Under the name Southern Lakes Repertory, the company produced Bill Manhoff's Owl and the Pussycat, the Organic Theatre’s Bleacher Bums, and the musical Working, based on the book by Studs Terkel. These shows x^ere presented in nightly, rotating repertory Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from May 27 through August 17, 1985. Audiences increased throughout the season and an additional production of Neil Simon's I Ought to Be In Pictures continued Friday and Saturday evenings through September 16, 1985. The directors, who had established the company without significant financial support, were concerned that all aspects of the operation be extremely cost-effective and yet project professionalism. This goal was generally accomplished and the foundation for a permanent theatre company was established.


137 pages




Northern Illinois University

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