Northern Lines

Janet Krokson

The Spooner-Shell Lake area is in jeopardy of losing one of its greatest assets – Theatre in the Woods, and here’s hoping we don’t.

This awesome performing arts organization is not facing bankruptcy – it has the money it needs to continue.

It is not suffering a lack of community support – it often performs to sell-out audiences who come to enjoy the plays, musicals, and dinner theaters it presents. And big crowds attend the many concerts, comedy shows, improv nights, book discussions, film series offerings, story-telling sessions, and other special events the organization has presented during its past 29 years in existence.

It isn’t even incurring a lack of volunteers – auditions for plays and other performances always result in a solid cast. And when the call goes out for volunteers to sell tickets, do stage work, and help in other ways to carry out a performance or event successfully, volunteers step forth regularly.

Further, unlike many other arts organizations across the country, Theatre in the Woods has a permanent home – the early-last-century Methodist Church at 605 1st Street in Shell Lake. The facility was donated to TitW by Karen and Pete Quam in 2000 and has since been known as the Erika Quam Memorial Theatre.

No, the challenge facing Theatre in the Woods is leadership. Without it, the organization cannot continue is fabulous works.

As of this September, the TitW board will no longer have a president, and in November the treasurer will be leaving. The secretary will likely be gone by summer, said Board President Laurie Bakkum, who was there in 1990 when the organization was established. “There has been no vice president for several years,” Bakkum said.

A managing director has been working hard to keep the Quam’s schedule full, and auditions are now underway for a production of the murder-mystery “Saving a Ghost Town” August 2-4.

“But with only two active directors and a diminishing board,” Bakkum said, the group is running out of time to get a solid leadership team in place.

“Hopefully,” Bakkum said, “there will be someone excited to carry on the tradition of TitW, but if there is not, perhaps it is time for us to hang up our theatre hats and say we had a good run.”

We urge anyone interested in helping to save this organization or starting a new one to take its place to contact Bakkum at

Keep this three-decade-old run going. Losing it would be a tragedy.

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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