2019-02-09 / News

Mission Point Theater Gets Upgrades in Anticipation of Spring Musical


The 500-seat Mission Point Theater has been undergoing some improvements this winter in preparation for the community production of “Bye, Bye Birdie” in April. From left, Mackinac Arts Council board member Sam Barnwell, arts council Director Philip Rice, and Mission Point Resort General Manager Brandon Sheldon pose in the balcony with a vintage spotlight uncovered this winter. It will be used during the play. The 500-seat Mission Point Theater has been undergoing some improvements this winter in preparation for the community production of “Bye, Bye Birdie” in April. From left, Mackinac Arts Council board member Sam Barnwell, arts council Director Philip Rice, and Mission Point Resort General Manager Brandon Sheldon pose in the balcony with a vintage spotlight uncovered this winter. It will be used during the play. The Mackinac Island Community Theater will debut the musical “Bye, Bye Birdie” April 19 and 20. The 25-person cast will begin rehearsals Sunday, February 10, and finishing touches will be done to refurbishments at Mission Point Theater, where the show will be held.

Mackinac Arts Council received a $35,000 grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for portable lighting and sound equipment that will be used for theater productions as well as their outdoor Music in the Park series and Mackinac’s Got Talent competition. The whole project cost about $90,000, and the remaining $55,000 were raised from private donations.

Volunteers from the Mackinac Arts Council have been working closely with staff from Mission Point Resort, who have taken ownership of the project and become motivated to help restore the theater, said Mackinac Arts Council Director Philip Rice. Mission Point General Manager Brandon Sheldon agreed, noting staff members Stan Antkoviac, Robert “Cowboy” Marcille, and Kurt Malone. The primary volunteers from the arts council include board members Sam Barnwell and Lisa Olson, as well as Mike Olson, Allen Burt, and Jack Stack.

When the stage was originally built, it was built very well, said Mr. Barnwell. The project has been a great collaboration with Mission Point Resort, he said, which has provided much financial and labor support to get the theater in shape for community functions.

The staff at Mission Point Resort, Mrs. Barnwell said, “are so enthusiastic about returning the theater to what it should be.”

Much of the theater was left exactly as it was built in the 1950s, with few improvements made over the years. The stage and dressing rooms were used as storage.

Other improvements are needed for enhanced safety, as the rigging system for the curtains and backdrops has been replaced, Mr. Rice said. The theater will also have a new heating system soon, so it can be used for wintertime activities.

The theater also features a new screen for movies, which was funded by Mission Point Resort.

Among other movies shown at the theater this winter, the Mackinac

Arts Council will host a screening of the new Detroit Public Television documentary on Mackinac Island Saturday, March 16, at 4:45 p.m. Admission is by donation.

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