Historic Howmet Playhouse
The Historic Howmet Playhouse was built by the community, for the community in 1916 with $12,000. In 1973, the community raised funds to renovate the aging playhouse and those donations were matched by Howmet. At that time, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp assumed ownership of the playhouse. In August of 2006, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp built a new theater at their campground and City of Whitehall decided to take over ownership as they saw the important role that the theater played in their community. The Playhouse is the center for the area’s arts events hosting as it hosts a variety of Michigan musical groups during its fall and spring sea-sons, and produces a Summer Fine Arts Festival with a variety of plays during the summer. There have been over 550 Playhouse events since 2007.
In November, the Howmet Playhouse embarked upon a $3.6 million dollar capital campaign to restore and renovate the theater. Frank Bednarek, campaign co-chair shared that they engage Ed Francis an architect from Detroit who also renovated the Frauenthal to assist in this project. The plans include a 5,000-square-foot addition that will expand the lobby. Accessible restrooms and dressing rooms, new seats and carpet, new heating and cooling system, and upgraded theatrical equipment, such as lights and rigging, are included in the plans. Upgrades are also slated for the heating, ventilation and cooling system, electrical and plumbing. To date, $2.7 million has been raised. A recent $200,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor will make all contributions from today on, a 1:1 match.
Managing Director Beth Beaman, below with Board member Frank Bednarek, discussed special shows this summer including:
- “The Seamstress” which shines a light on domestic violence issues and a portion of the proceeds from the show will be given to Every Woman’s Place.
- “The Birds” a Daphne du Maurier’s short story, also the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film, is boldly adapted by Conor McPherson—a gripping, unsettling, and moving look at human relationships in the face of societal collapse.