Theatre in the Park: A bit of history
The idea of presenting live theatre performances in a Johnson County park was launched in 1970 with the theatre's first season on a stage comprised of a few boards and bricks near a pond in Antioch Park. The early patrons were enthusiastic, supportive and so hungry for the arts that the park could not accommodate them all. After only two seasons, the stage was moved to the “small lakes” area in Shawnee Mission Park where the program thrived and the crowds continued to grow.
Recognizing the program's obvious appeal and growth potential, the Shawnee Mission Sertoma Club raised funds and a permanent stage was dedicated on June 20, 1980. Many additions and improvements have been made over the years including upgraded dressing rooms, public restrooms, a set construction shop, a technical bunker, concession stand and a permanent box office. In 2014, new air-conditioned dressing rooms were built to accommodate the ever-growing casts of our yearly outdoor musical theatre season.
After more than half a century, Theatre in the Park continues a summer theatre tradition that has entertained audiences for generations. With annual attendance of approximately 40,000 patrons and more than 30,000 volunteer hours dedicated to our OUTDOOR performances, the Theatre shares the magic of live theatre with young and old alike and draws patrons from throughout the Greater Kansas City area and beyond.
The Theatre provides creative challenges for hundreds of performers (actors, orchestra, crew – all of whom volunteer their time) as well as employment opportunities for area residents and has won numerous awards and accolades, including "Best in Business" by Ingram's Magazine, and many “Best of Shawnee” awards over many years.
The Theatre Advisory Council
The Theatre Advisory Council advises the Johnson County Park & Recreation District and the Theatre in the Park producing staff on various matters regarding TTIP programming and the community. It advocates for TIP in conjunction with the overall mission, vision, values, and goals of JCPRD through volunteerism, promotion, and fund raising to assist TTIP reach its goal of fulfilling a commitment to live theatre and providing quality, professional level entertainment, recreation, and education for the citizens of the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area.
In 2022 TIP and JCPRD began conversations around improving the Theatre facility and a concept plan was completed. Staff anticipates work to commence on a capital campaign to move forward with a master plan to reimagine and rebuild many aspects of the theatre facility. Members of the Theatre Advisory Council will be given the opportunity to sit on the campaign committee.
Council members are nominated by current council members and are elected to two-year terms and serve no more than three consecutive full terms. Nominations may take place at any time throughout the calendar year. Members are required to give an annual financial contribution of a minimum of $500.00 either personally or through the support of other individuals including program ads and sponsorships.
Council meets regularly (generally once a month on the last Friday of the month) except for June and July during the theatre’s summer season.
Do you have a passion for theatre, advocacy and fundraising? We might be just the thing you are looking for!
CLICK HERE to submit an application to serve on the TAC!
We will review your application and be in touch!
Please read the Theatre In The Park Advisory Council Charter.