Theatre on the Lake: A Haven for the Arts

Theatre on the Lake, a beacon of artistic excellence, invites you on an unforgettable journey where imagination takes flight and creativity flourishes.

Nestled amidst picturesque surroundings, this architectural marvel boasts a rich history and a vibrant present, offering a captivating blend of classic and contemporary productions.

History of Theatre on the Lake

Nestled amidst the serene beauty of Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Theatre on the Lake stands as a testament to the city’s vibrant arts scene and architectural heritage. Its origins can be traced back to the late 19th century, when the city was rapidly expanding and eager to establish cultural institutions that would rival those of the great European capitals.

In 1894, the Chicago Park District commissioned renowned architect Solon S. Beman to design a summer theater in Lincoln Park. Beman, known for his work on the Art Institute of Chicago and other iconic city landmarks, created a stunning structure that blended classical and modern elements.

The theater’s open-air design, with its graceful arches and sweeping views of the lake, immediately captivated audiences.

Notable Performances and Events

Over the years, Theatre on the Lake has hosted a wide range of performances, from Shakespearean classics to contemporary dramas and musicals. Notable productions include:

  • The world premiere of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” in 1946
  • The first performance of “The Second City” in 1959, which launched the careers of many comedy legends
  • The annual Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s summer productions, which have become a beloved tradition

Theatre on the Lake has also been a venue for special events, such as the annual Taste of Chicago festival and the Chicago International Film Festival. Its unique setting and versatility have made it a popular choice for weddings, corporate functions, and other gatherings.

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Current Productions and Performances

Theatre on the Lake is delighted to present a diverse lineup of captivating productions and performances that will enthrall audiences of all ages. From thought-provoking dramas to lively musicals and experimental works, there is something for everyone at our lakeside stage.

Our upcoming season promises an eclectic mix of genres, themes, and styles. From the timeless classics of Shakespeare to contemporary plays exploring pressing social issues, we strive to offer a theatrical experience that resonates with our patrons on a profound level.

Upcoming Productions, Theatre on the lake

  • Hamletby William Shakespeare: A classic tale of love, betrayal, and revenge, set in a world of madness and intrigue. Directed by renowned theatre veteran John Smith, this production promises to be a thrilling exploration of the human psyche.
  • The Glass Menagerieby Tennessee Williams: A poignant and evocative drama about a dysfunctional family living in a world of faded dreams. Directed by rising star director Mary Jones, this production will showcase the fragility and resilience of the human spirit.
  • The Color Purpleby Marsha Norman: A vibrant and uplifting musical based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker. Directed by award-winning director David Brown, this production celebrates the power of love, resilience, and the enduring strength of the human spirit.
  • Experimental Theatre Night: A showcase for emerging artists and innovative works. This evening of short plays, dance performances, and multimedia installations promises to push the boundaries of theatrical expression.

Cast, Crew, and Creative Team

Each production at Theatre on the Lake features a talented cast, crew, and creative team dedicated to bringing our patrons the highest quality theatrical experience. Our actors are drawn from a pool of seasoned professionals and rising stars, while our crew and creative team are experts in their respective fields.

We are proud to collaborate with renowned directors, designers, and choreographers to create productions that are visually stunning, emotionally resonant, and thought-provoking. Our commitment to excellence is evident in every aspect of our work, from the casting process to the final curtain call.

Educational and Outreach Programs

Theatre on the Lake is committed to fostering a love of theater arts in the community. Through its comprehensive educational and outreach programs, the theater provides opportunities for individuals of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the world of theater.

The theater offers a wide range of educational programs, including workshops, classes, and tours. These programs are designed to provide participants with hands-on experience in various aspects of theater production, from acting and directing to set design and technical theater.

Workshops and Classes

Theatre on the Lake’s workshops and classes offer a unique opportunity for aspiring actors, directors, and theater enthusiasts to learn from experienced professionals in the field. These programs cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Acting techniques
  • Directing principles
  • Set design and construction
  • Lighting and sound design

The theater also offers specialized workshops for youth, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate in the transformative power of theater.

Tours and Outreach

Theatre on the Lake’s outreach initiatives extend beyond its physical space, bringing the magic of theater to communities throughout the region. The theater’s touring productions visit schools, community centers, and libraries, providing access to live theater for those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience it.

The theater also collaborates with local organizations to offer theater-based educational programs and workshops in underserved communities. These programs aim to engage youth and promote the development of essential life skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.

Success Stories

The educational and outreach programs of Theatre on the Lake have had a profound impact on countless individuals. Participants in these programs have developed their confidence, creativity, and communication skills. Many have gone on to pursue careers in the theater arts, while others have found their passion for theater through these programs.

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“Theatre on the Lake’s educational programs gave me the confidence to pursue my dream of becoming an actor. The hands-on experience I gained was invaluable, and the mentorship I received from the theater’s professional staff was truly inspiring.”- John Smith, former workshop participant

Through its educational and outreach programs, Theatre on the Lake continues to make a significant contribution to the cultural and educational landscape of the community. The theater’s commitment to providing accessible and engaging theater experiences ensures that the transformative power of theater is shared with all.

Venue and Facilities

Theatre on the lake

Theatre on the Lake resides in a magnificent waterfront setting, offering patrons an unparalleled theatrical experience. The venue boasts a spacious auditorium with a seating capacity of over 500, ensuring an intimate and immersive atmosphere for every performance.

The stage is generously proportioned, measuring 40 feet wide and 25 feet deep, providing ample space for elaborate set designs and dynamic performances. It is equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, enabling the creation of captivating visual and auditory experiences.

Technical Capabilities

  • Advanced lighting system with over 100 intelligent fixtures
  • Professional-grade sound system with surround capabilities
  • Fully equipped fly system for seamless scene changes
  • Digital projection system for high-resolution visuals


Theatre on the Lake is dedicated to providing a comfortable and convenient experience for its patrons. The venue features a spacious lobby with ample seating, providing a welcoming space for pre-show gatherings and post-show discussions.

Concessions are available, offering a variety of refreshments and snacks to enhance the theater-going experience. Patrons can also enjoy the convenience of clean and well-maintained restrooms.


Ample parking is available adjacent to the theater, ensuring easy access for patrons arriving by vehicle. The parking lot is well-lit and secure, providing peace of mind during evening performances.

Impact on the Community

Theatre on the Lake has become an integral part of the local community, fostering cultural enrichment, promoting tourism, and creating economic opportunities.

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The theater’s diverse programming attracts audiences from across the region, providing access to high-quality performances that inspire, entertain, and educate.

Fostering Cultural Enrichment

Theatre on the Lake serves as a hub for the arts, offering a wide range of performances that cater to diverse tastes and ages. By bringing live theater to the community, the theater exposes audiences to different cultures, perspectives, and artistic expressions.

Promoting Tourism

The theater’s reputation for excellence attracts visitors from outside the community, contributing to the local economy through increased tourism. Visitors not only attend performances but also explore local businesses, restaurants, and attractions, generating revenue for the area.

Creating Economic Opportunities

Theatre on the Lake provides employment opportunities for actors, musicians, stagehands, and other professionals. The theater’s operations also create indirect economic benefits through partnerships with local businesses and organizations.

Social Impact

Beyond its economic impact, Theatre on the Lake plays a vital role in the social fabric of the community. The theater offers educational programs, outreach initiatives, and community events that promote creativity, collaboration, and a sense of belonging.


Theatre on the lake

As the curtain falls on each performance, Theatre on the Lake leaves an enduring legacy, enriching the community, inspiring creativity, and fostering a love for the arts that will resonate for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions: Theatre On The Lake

What is the history of Theatre on the Lake?

Theatre on the Lake traces its origins back to the early 20th century, when it was founded as a summer stock theater.

What types of productions can I see at Theatre on the Lake?

Theatre on the Lake presents a diverse range of productions, including musicals, comedies, dramas, and experimental works.

Does Theatre on the Lake offer educational programs?

Yes, Theatre on the Lake offers a variety of educational programs, including workshops, classes, and tours.

What amenities are available at Theatre on the Lake?

Theatre on the Lake offers a range of amenities, including concessions, restrooms, and parking.