The Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan, is located approximately 70 miles from downtown Chicago and 60 miles from Kalamazoo. It’s an intimate and eclectic non-profit performance space featuring rock, folk, indie, jazz, opera, open mics, drama, and comedy. Housed in a turn of the century former corset stay factory, this beautiful building is now a venue to many performers of incomparable talent who delight in the proximity to the audience and outstanding acoustics. The Acorn produces approximately 80 shows a year in its 250-seat house. The full bar offers local brews, wine, and mixed drinks.
History of the Acorn Theater
Co-founded by Chicagoans, writer Kim Clark and manufacturing executive David Fink, in 2002, the Acorn Theater grew organically from Clark’s quest for a space to workshop his theater projects. When the dilapidated Featherbone Factory building became available they jumped on it, despite the leaky roof, collapsing floors, and rusted cars on the dirt road in front of the theater.
After presenting a variety show to a packed house in conjunction with the Harbor Country art festival, Art Attack, a more serious 2-year renovation began. The building was gutted to construct the charming and acoustically rich theater and a loft-style apartment featured on HGTV. In 2003 the Acorn Theater officially opened, and 45 shows were produced to packed houses in its first year.
The early years of the Acorn were filled with explosive creative energy and projects involving both Chicago and local notables. The theater and apartment quickly became a vibrant art incubation space for theater pieces, books, and a podcast. Word spread about the Acorn, which garnered national recognition and a feature article in the New York Times.
Over the years, Acorn luminaries have included Jeff Daniels, Jeff Tweedy, Rickie Lee Jones, Jefferson Starship, Poi Dog Pondering, The Cowboy Junkies, Peter Yarrow, Richie Havens, Shawn Mullins, Corky Siegel, Lesley Gore, pianist Jim Brickman, and opera star Nathan Gunn. In addition to continuing to program stars with highly recognizable names, the Acorn prides itself on showcasing local and rising talent by hosting regular open mics and competitions providing artists rewarding stage time. Regardless of familiarity with the talent, audiences can be assured a great night of entertainment.
The Acorn Theater became a non-profit 501(c)3 theater in 2015. Thanks to ongoing community support and engagement the Acorn continues to expand its offerings.