About OTP

Community Impact

Throughout its long history, Old Town Playhouse has benefited from a wonderful outpouring of community support. In return, the Playhouse has offered enriching entertainment and educational opportunities for the residents of northern Michigan.

A Community Stage

What began in 1960 as a gathering of a small group of friends determined to produce live theatre in Northern Michigan has now grown into one of the area’s leading attractions. Each year, we bring entertainment and education to nearly 20,000 participants, with over 125 Old Town Playhouse and Young Company performances and numerous special events and community appearances.

The youth education arm of Old Town Playhouse, the OTP Young Company, provides performance and educational activities for youth age preschool through secondary school, including mainstage performances during December, June and August as well as classes and workshops for youth throughout the year. Over 100 youth age preschool through high school will participate in a variety of six-week educational classes in winter, spring and summer. Old Town Playhouse also serves as a resource for stagecraft, scripts, costumes and related advice for regional schools, community groups and businesses, other theatres and area arts organizations.

Volunteers Essential to OTP

Since its inception in 1960, the Playhouse has been volunteer driven. Approximately 200 volunteers play key roles in all operational facets of the organization - productions, maintenance, administrative, professional. Last season, volunteers contributed close to 50,000 hours. Old Town Playhouse is reliant on its volunteer force to remain viable and vital.

Economic Impact

The current annual budget is approximately $600,000. Income is earned through individual ticket sales (36%), season ticket sales (11%), special events (13%), donations (7%), advertising & underwriting (7%), grants (12%), classes and workshops (8%), and the remainder on interest on investments, building rental and merchandise sales (6%).

The fiscal year runs July through June. In addition to the annual operating budget, an endowment fund - the Old Town Playhouse Endowment at the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation - exists to support investment in OTP's future artistic endeavors into perpetuity. It is our goal to help this fund grow so that our community theatre will be able to grow and thrive for generations to come.

Recent Initiatives


In 2007, the Board of Trustees initiated plans to review the operations and structure of the Old Town Playhouse. In 2008 they commenced a restructuring of the governance of the operation with the approval of membership. This resulted in a community based Board of Trustee structure, and refocused the Playhouse on managing growth, with a focus toward development and fundraising to meet the growth and demands of the larger community.

Centralized Ticketing Box Office

In 2008, the Old Town Playhouse, along with other arts partners, led an initiative to create TREAT, a centralized regional ticketing operation within the community. Through the process, OTP served as the fiscal agent for this major collaborative initiative with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra and two presenting organizations, The City Opera House and the Milliken Auditorium of the Dennos Museum. With key funding made available through a generous grant from Rotary Charities of Traverse City, TREAT has coodinated ticketing for the region and is increasing the impact the arts and culture have in Northwestern Michigan.


Old Town Playhouse

Main Stage Theatre
148 E. Eighth Street
at the corner of
Cass & East 8th St.