The Detroit Repertory Theatre has had a hard life. The small, but tough neighborhood theater company has weathered mortgages, riots, and racism, not to mention the difficulty that all theaters face in convincing people that drama remains a relevant and vital force. In spite of these factors, the Detroit Repertory Theater has reached its 50th anniversary, and proved that it’s a survivor. With recent renovations to the facility and solid attendance at its 194-seat theater it is doing better than ever.
The Rep works hard to maintain its relevance by interacting heavily with the community. The Cultural Fellowship Program sees to it that tickets are distributed via social organizations, enabling many of the disenfranchised and underprivileged to experience theater. A special program allows young offenders in the local juvenile justice system to get theater training opportunities. Free acting workshops are offered to people from all walks of life eager to explore the art of performance. In-school, after school, and summer school programming all introduce kids K-12 to the arts. Michigan artists are invited to submit their work to be considered for exhibition in the theater’s Lobby Gallery, and playwrights (especially those from Michigan) can get a chance to see their work produced through the New Playwrights’ Program.
At least one original play is produced each year, and the company’s seasonal offerings tend to be smart, issues-minded work. The Rep has a largely African-American audience, so themes about race and ethnicity are often at the forefront of the plays it chooses. Intriguingly, though, the Rep was a pioneer of “race transcendent casting” and continues to cast without regard to ethnicity or skin color unless it’s vital to the play.
Detroit Repertory Theatre Information
- Public Transportation: Fair
- Handicapped Accessibility: Yes
- Performance/Programs: Performance Schedule is Thursday through Sunday
- Ticket Prices: Single Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door.
- Subscriptions: Series subscriptions are $50 , Subscribers are allowed one extra free viewing of each show in the series, which can also be passed on to friends and family, 10-Ticket Bargain Booklets are $110 (a $60 savings), Matinee 10-Ticket Bargain Booklets are $100 ($70 savings).