Dayton reviews plan for backyard musical

By Megan Hopps

SUN PRESS Newspapers


The Dayton City Council and staff met to discuss Bunce Backyard Production’s application to perform outdoors in the city.

The production company has completed a large group assembly license and the details of the agreement were reviewed by the council.


Bunce Productions

Bunce Backyard Productions, Inc. has applied for a large group assembly license in Dayton to perform its annual production.

Bunce Productions is a family-oriented production company that was incorporated in 2012, but began it’s theater productions back in 2007. Bunce Productions was designed to give both experienced and new actors an outlet for creative performance, to strengthen family and community relationships, and to raise funds for community charities. This year, Bunce Productions are performing Tarzan: The Stage Musical. Performances will be held at the end of July beginning at 7 p.m. in the Bogle family’s backyard located at 11350 Dallas Lane.

Mayor Tim McNeil opened this item for public discussion as a couple area residents were concerned about the size of the production and the noise, traffic and pollution crowds often bring with them.

Dayton resident Marsha Grover, whose home neighbors the backyard where the production will take place, spoke her concerns to the council.

“There are many places in the area they could do this,” Grover said. “They could go to a vacant warehouse, a high school auditorium, a high school football field, a church or to the amphitheater in Maple Grove. I’m just concerned about the pollution, the noise and the traffic on my road.”

Associate City Planner Matthew Gindele addressed some of these concerns by clarifying the details of the Bunce’s plan to set up, rehearse and perform.

“The Bunces did submit an application and meet all the requirements of the license application,” Gindele said. “They will be performing a total of six days, roughly two to two and half hours per day.”

Owner and President of the company, Lori Bunce, walked up to the front to address Grover’s concerns and answer questions about the planned production.

“We do rehearse at the site,” said Bunce. “It’s pretty quiet because there’s a hill and trees that will absorb most of the sound.”

Gindele turned to address Grover’s concerns about traffic.

“To address the concerns about traffic, the traffic on Fernbrook is heavy,” Gindele said. “The Bunces have offered to provide police for traffic control which would likely come from Dayton at their hourly rate, both during arrival and departure from each show. Parking is primarily off street on the Bogle property and there are neighbors willing to put their property up for parking. I did talk to the fire chief about parking on 114th and he said as long as it’s only on one side of the road to keep it open for a fire lane.”

The Bogle family, Dayton residents, have offered to host the production in their backyard. The Bogles have offered their land for guests to park on as well.

“About four days before the show, we will start incorporating our sound system,” Bunce added. “Our goal is really to not be heard beyond the Bogle land. The show is designed as a family and community builder, having it in someone’s back yard is part of the charm. We just don’t want it to be in a theater, that’s the fun of it, is that people come and set up their own chairs and blankets. It’s really a charming and fun event.”

Bunce Productions does not sell tickets to their show. Money is raised on a donation basis and oftentimes concessions are sold to help offset some of the costs of the production such as the set and costumes for the actors.

Mayor McNeil added that quiet hours begin at 10 p.m. in the city and requested the show wrap up by then, as this ordinance will be enforced the nights of production. This was addressed at the council meeting to discuss the possibility of reducing the application fee from $1,000 to $100 since Bunce Backyard Productions is a non-profit organization. The city approved the fee reduction.

“The reason we do this is to teach our children to give back,” Bunce said. “One of the things we try to do is to give money to CROSS and then we always choose a non-profit to give to as well. I really think it’s a worthy cause.”

To learn more about Bunce Backyard Productions visit



The council also:

CONSIDERED hiring intern Kathleen Hammer for the city’s CIS project.

APPROVED new computers for City Hall.

APPROVED a temporary 3.2 beer on-sale liquor for Matt Lee Classic for July 18-20 at McNeil Park.

REVIEWED the preliminary plat for Granstrom Orchards and;

REVIEWED the Territorial Road and Rush Creek Road Utility improvements including a change order, budget summary and a pay request to S.R. Weidema.


Contact Megan Hopps at [email protected]