Peninsula Players Recieves 3rd Consecutive NEA Grant Partnering with the Door County Library to Present “The Big Read” in 2010

Players will partner with Door County Library to read and celebrate

Willa Cather’s “My Ántonia” in January and February

For the third consecutive year, Peninsula Players Theatre will partner with Door County Library to present The Big Read, thanks to a new $16,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) matching grant secured by the Door County  professional theater company.

The Big Read Door County 2010 will explore and celebrate Willa Cather’s “My Ántonia” through a series of events and promotions from mid-January to mid-February, 2010.  “I love this book,” says Door County Library Director Becca Berger.  “I first read it with my book club.  Cather’s descriptions of the land are just gorgeous, and her story of immigrant struggles and friendships forged is truly beautiful.”

Dozens of events around the county with about 30 partners are planned.  Details will be announced later in the year.

Previous Big Reads produced by the Players focused on John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”  More than 1,500 people attended Big Read events in 2008 and more than 2,500 in 2009.

“The Big Read highlights not only literature, but also what can be accomplished in partnership,” says NEA Acting Chairman Patrice Walker Powell.  Partnerships have been a defining characteristic of the success of previous Door County Big Reads, bringing together the whole library system, arts organizations, schools, and community organizations on a scale not previously experienced.

“It’s extremely gratifying to collaborate with so many wonderful people and organizations,” says Players development director and Big Read program director Alan Kopischke.  “In addition to many returning partners, we have some great new ones lined up for next year and hope to enlist a few more.”  New partners include the Miller Art Museum, Door County Land Trust, and Peninsula Music Festival.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

“We’re very excited to have received yet another NEA grant to continue our year-round connection to the community as we lead into our historic 75th anniversary season next year,” says Players Artistic Director Greg Vinkler. Peninsula Players, founded in 1935, is America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and the oldest professional theater in Wisconsin.  The Players will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its first performance on July 25, 2010.

For more information about The Big Read visit

Peninsula Players is America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and is unique in the country for its diverse productions, continuing loyalty to a resident company, and its beautiful setting of 16 wooded acres along the cedar-lined shores of Green Bay.  In the past 74 years, the theater has become a Door County landmark and its cornerstone arts institution, attracting audience members from throughout Wisconsin and across the country.  For more information, please visit

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. For more information please visit

Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit

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