The Dunes Arts Foundation, Inc., which operates the Dunes Summer Theatre and Education Programs, was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the State of Indiana in 1952. The mission of Dunes Arts Foundation (DAF) is to build a renowned professional, non-equity, regional theatre that provides high-quality performing and fine arts productions designed to inspire audiences while stimulating local commerce and promoting community spirit. Located in Michiana Shores, the theatre is nestled on a scenic 19 acre wooded site, about a half mile from the Indiana Dunes and the Lake Michigan shore. It seats over 240 patrons. The theatre campus hosts 8 cabins for summer actors and interns, and a Clay Cabin for summer classes.
The DAF was founded by Nora MacAlvay, an art and literature teacher, who trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and Goodman Theatre School. She was passionate about theatre and literature for young people. Nora led DAF programs for over 30 years, while serving as Artistic Director of the Dunes Summer Theatre. Her ideas and dedication touched generations of aspiring young thespians. Nora’s early work and vision for the Dunes Summer Theatre continues to inspire as we carry on her legacy of providing professional, quality theatre and youth programs to the entire Harbor Country region. In 2017, the Foundation placed renewed emphasis on repairing its aged theatre facility, and increasing its summer plays and education programs. It’s efforts resulted in the installation of new air conditioning, new electrics, renovated cabins, an updated Clay Cabin, new lighting system, and numerous structural repairs – much to its audiences delight. In 2017, the Dunes Summer Theatre was named a top 10 regional theatre in Indiana by AmericanTowns Media.