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A letter from the Producing Artistic Director - 

It was 1969 when members of the Shawnee Mission Sertoma Club imagined - and dreamed - what it would be like to have a place for theatre in our community. And that’s all it took… a little imagination… and a question: “What if?”

In the decades since, thousands of volunteer performers, crew members and musicians have come to know what it means to create in a community of like-minded artists. With each performance, community performers inspire, engage, and enlighten us.

Millions of patrons have witnessed beauty, creativity, originality, and the caring spirit of creation that is vital to the cultural life and fabric of our community.

Today, over 50 years later, with aging infrastructure and a facility that is close to the end of its life, the time has come to imagine again, and ask “What if?”

It’s time to rethink, rebuild, and yes… re-imagine this cultural treasure that has been a part of JCPRD for over 50 years.  We must challenge ourselves to dream bigger and grow beyond what our current home can provide.

It’s time to – Imagine: Theatre in the Park - The Next 50 Years!
Tim Bair, Producing Artistic Director
Theatre in the Park



We imagine…

  • Expanded and enhanced educational opportunities featuring technical, workforce and community engagement programming.

  • Increased reserved seating from 80 to 250 permanent covered seats, sheltered from inclement weather.

  • Weather tight climate-controlled stage house providing year-round use.

  • Increased square footage of the stage house and back of house areas from 19,000 to 33,000-square feet.

  • Improved and expanded ADA access.

  • Upgraded technological capabilities for exceptional lighting, sound and production value.

  • Relocated parking areas providing greater ease of access and increasing lot capacity from 350 to 860 spaces.

  • New trail expansion and park space.



Community theatre happens in person, in real time. There are no do-overs, no “cutting room floors.” It is LIVE. There is a special connection between actors and audiences. It is coincidental, yet appropriate, that the word can also mean action: to live. For supporters of community theatre, this makes perfect sense.

Theatre isn’t a spectator sport; it’s lived and breathed. Each performance is unique, never to be reproduced in exactly the same way, ever again. Audiences are integral participants, not passive bystanders.

It’s also life-giving. Discipline and teamwork are natural outcomes of this collaborative endeavor. What happens on stage doesn’t stay on stage. Audiences accept the energy shared by actors, translate it into delight and generously return it to the performers who then leverage that liveliness and send it right back… over and over again.

Theatre brings people together, literally, on and off stage. Here, people of all ages and

all walks of life come together in a singular place, to share time and space. Laughter, tears, joy, sorrow… emotions are coalesced and, for a moment, unified. More importantly,
no one is alone.

At a time when isolation, anxiety and angst may try to take center stage, live COMMUNITY theatre extends an affordable and hopeful offer for everyone to be part of something great. Community theatre offers a safe, positive experience that draws people together, lifts them up and fosters a culture of community.

Live THEATRE is adaptive, reflective and practiced, yet always improvised. Theatre, like life, requires in-the-moment, split-second decisions that come with risk and reward; demanding a balance of skill, timing and intuition. Unlike watching a film, theatre audiences are, in every sense of the word, involved.

Theatre will always necessitate a diversity of skills and talents beyond on-stage actors. It takes artists (costumes, makeup, scenery, staging); engineers (sound, lighting, production); musicians; administrators (budgeting, revenue, ticketing) and a multitude of other gifts and expertise to make it work.

“I’ve tap danced, choreographed, and directed my way around the world during a decades-long career that started on the stage of Theatre in the Park!

I don’t really know how things may have turned out without Theatre in the Park in my life. I was given the opportunity to pursue what I loved because a group of people knew how important community theatre was to their community.

I’ve often said “art makes life better”... well... Theatre in the Park has made MY life GREAT!”

Tim Bair, Producing Artistic Director
Theatre in the Park

Now Theatre in the Park extends an open invitation.
Enter. Take a Bow. Be part of something exceptional!



Theatre in the Park welcomes diverse audiences and participants from 340 zip codes regionally. Sign language interpretation is offered for every production, and hearing-assisted devices are made available. Theatre in the Park is committed to non-discrimination and a flexible, imaginative casting policy—always striving to be culturally conscious as it pertains to social and historical content. Performers of all ethnic, all racial backgrounds, all sexual orientations, all gender identities, and all body types are encouraged to audition and find a home on Theatre in the Park’s stage.

Through the NEW Theatre in the Park Mainstage Academy, Theatre in the Park will also provide educational programs and technical training for artists, students, and volunteers as it remains true to its founding principles of access and inclusivity. Age-appropriate camps, workshops and master classes are offered in many areas of focus. Theatre for all!


New and expanded theatrical educational opportunities for all ages.

Behind-the-scenes activities including stage management, scenic design and construction, lighting, and sound.

Professional contracts, administration, budgeting/forecastingrevenue and expenses.

Kansas College and Career Ready Standards resources for educators and home school groups to complement TIP’s programming.

On-stage skills including auditions, callbacks, rehearsals, expanding theatrical knowledge.


"Theatre in the Park was always something I looked forward to as a
kid, whether I was on stage or watching from the lawn.
Now, as a professional dancer in New York City, I look back at my
time on the stage at Theatre in the Park and feel forever grateful for the
opportunities I had that prepared me to get where I am today."

– Mindy Moeller, Radio City Rockette



Theatre in the Park is an award-winning cultural institution that has seen steady growth over the last decade. Notable alumni have continued to regional and national careers, including Hollywood and Broadway. Each year, 600 volunteers, including actors, crew members and musicians, work together to provide family-friendly, affordable, accessible theatre productions and outdoor movie nights.

With generous support from the community, Johnson County Park and Recreation District and The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County, Theatre in the Park provides high-quality performances at a low cost to its audiences.

Established in 1955, Johnson County Park and Recreation District is a nationally recognized leader in the field of park and recreation whose hard-working staff, quality program offerings, and great parks and facilities promote healthy active lifestyles. JCPRD has been recognized twice with the prestigious National Gold Medal for Excellence Award and has achieved national accreditation four times. Theatre in the Park has been a proud program of JCPRD since 1970.Learn more at jcprd.com.

Established in 1955, Johnson County Park and Recreation District is a nationally recognized leader in the field of park and recreation whose hard-working staff, quality program offerings, and great parks and facilities promote healthy active lifestyles. JCPRD has been recognized twice with the prestigious National Gold Medal for Excellence Award and has achieved national accreditation four times. Theatre in the Park has been a proud program of JCPRD since 1970.Learn more at jcprd.com.

"The foundation exists to make life better for the citizens and visitors of Johnson County. Our support is necessary, because revenues and taxes don't cover 100% of current and future JCPRD need. Generous gifts to the foundation allow us to offer the best parks, cultural offerings and recreation programming possible."

- Laura McConwell, President
The Parks & Recreation Foundation of Johnson County


EXPANSION = more to love!

Imagine: Theatre in the Park will create a year-round venue which will increase and expand programming by 215% - adding events like:
                                •  Music Festivals
                                •  Concerts
                                •  Touring Groups
                                •  Art Fairs
                                •  Additional Theatre in the Park Performances

More programs = More people.
More people = More dollars spent
Tourism •  Food & Beverage  •  Lodging
Everyone benefits!

“Community theatre is crucial theatre... for our community, state, nation, and the world as a whole. It connects us with our world and the people in it. It helps us to empathize with others and spurs us on to personal growth. Community theatre is the pathway to not only unlocking the next generation of actors, but also the next generation of a caring society.”
Jason Leblanc, Stage Agent – 2020


“I have witnessed firsthand the power of the arts in building business skills. When we participate personally in the arts, we strengthen our ‘creativity muscles,’ which makes us not just a better ceramicist or chorus member, but a more creative worker - better able to identify challenges and innovative business solutions.”
Christopher Forbes, Vice Chairman, Forbes, INC.



Theatre in the Park - OUTDOOR Amphitheatre
Inside Shawnee Mission Park
7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS 66218

Theatre in the Park - INDOOR Blackbox Theater
Inside the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center
8788 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66212
(913) 826-3011

The Parks & Recreation Foundation of Johnson County
7900 Renner Road, Shawnee Mission, KS 66219
(913) 826-3448

Theatre in the Park Advisory Council
Jonathan Thomas, Chair
Melissa Evans, Vice Chair
Kelstan Ellis
Jackie Hancock
Jane Massey
Gayle Maurin
Meredith Neill
Tom Nelson
Jim Royer, Sertoma Representative
Leslee Rivarola, JCPRD Board of Commissioners Liaison
Tim Bair, Ex-Officio

The Parks & Recreation Foundation of Johnson County
Board of Directors
Laura McConwell, President
Bob Maher, Vice President
Jeff Stewart, Secretary
Travis Buell, Treasurer
Steve Baru
Chris Carroll
Jason Meier
George Schlagel
Paul Snider
Nancy Wallerstein
Joan Barkley Wells
Kelly Blanford, Foundation Director

Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners (’23)
Bob Carlson, Chair
George Schlagel, Vice Chair
Dan Forgy, Secretary
Leslee Rivarola, Treasurer
Heather Rubesch, Assistant Secretary
Gary Ristow, Assistant Treasurer
Erik Hage, Board Member
Jeff Meyers, BOCC Board Member

Johnson County Park and Recreation District - Project Staff
Tim Bair, Producing Artistic Director
Kelly Blanford, Development Director
Susan Mong, Superintendent of Culture
Jeff Stewart, Executive Director