Lakeshore Players serves as the premier performing arts center for the greater Saint Paul northeast metro area. One of Minnesota’s first theaters established as a community organization, Lakeshore has operated continuously since 1953:
1953: Organization founded when more than 50 persons met in response to a newspaper notice “All theatrically minded persons are cordially invited to a meeting at White Bear Lake City Hall.” The notice was the brainchild of Truly Lachow and Laurie Peterson, two women who wanted to bring live theater to White Bear Lake. Early goals were to “provide live theater locally, uplift community cultural awareness, and provide the recreation of working and learning together.” Six weeks later they presented “Ah Wilderness” by Eugene O’Neill at White Bear Senior High (now Central Middle School).
1959-1969: Operated and performed out of the original First Presbyterian Church of White Bear Lake at 701 E. Second St.
1960: Youth and adult theatre arts classes were launched and continue today.
1969: Fire destroyed the Playhouse building, but not the determination of the community.
1971: Purchased and renovated our current White Bear Lake home at 4820 Stewart Avenue.
1981: Founding member of American Association of Community Theatres.
2004: Lakeshore founded an annual 10-Minute Playwriting Contest to solicit new unpublished works, and began our 10-Minute Play Festival, now in its 13th year with worldwide participation.
2005: Expanded outreach through a partnership with Saint Paul’s Landmark Center to produce annual original historic courtroom trial dramas at Landmark.
2008: First operating support grant received from the Minnesota State Arts Board, renewed annually thereafter.
2011: Lakeshore joined other northeast metro area nonprofits in the COLLAGE community partnership to increase awareness of homelessness and hunger in the suburbs.
2012: Updated strategic plan with the goal of continuing expansion in a new facility and conducted a feasibility study to determine readiness for a major capital campaign.
2013: Staffing increased with the hiring of an Artistic Director. Earned the Charities Review Council “Seal of Approval” for financial management accountability standards.
2014: Launched Capital Campaign, hired an Education Director to increase educational programming, and implemented improved customer support database system for ticket sales, patron and donor management.
2015: Produced our 358th main stage show in April.
2016: Celebrated 25 years of the Summer Youth Players program. Began year-long in-school residencies with Matoska Elementary in White Bear Lake. Began our 64th season with our 370th production–Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.
2017: Broke ground on the Hanifl Performing Arts Center at 4941 Long Avenue. Anticipated opening in the spring of 2018.