Best University Theaters In Detroit

October 5, 2011 8:48 AM


Not only is Southeast Michigan a great place to work in and attend live theater performances, it’s also home to a handful of the top university programs in the country to train up-and-coming young people in the various performing arts disciplines. Many artists today appearing on Broadway, in film and on television were educated here – and countless others will graduate from these fine programs and launch careers of their own. And who knows: Maybe your favorite university actor today will become your favorite star tomorrow! – Donald V. Calamia,
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Eastern Michigan University Theatre

Quirk Building
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
(734) 487-2282

Eastern Michigan University Theatre is dedicated to providing entertaining and enlightening theater for its audience and to expanding the knowledge of its students and their ability to create the theatrical event. The Mainstage season runs from September through June and features a minimum of six faculty or guest artist directed productions. The student-directed Laboratory season produces as many as 15 works annually, including a student-written one-act festival. Additional opportunities are available in its touring troupes and through special event performances. The faculty of EMU Theatre is made up of a team of educators with extensive knowledge and experience in their individual fields. Most faculty members continue working in the theater and arts management industries, so they bring hands on and refined experience to the classroom. Performances are held in the Quirk Theatre, a 381-seat proscenium stage, and the intimate Sponberg Theatre, a 202-seat modified thrust stage. Both showcase faculty-directed Mainstage productions. 107 Quirk is the Frank Ross Laboratory Theatre, a 50-seat black-box theater used for student and faculty performances and various productions and projects.

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Oakland University

Department of Music, Theatre and Dance
2200 N Squirrel Rd.
Rochester, MI 48309
(248) 370-3013

Oakland University’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance is a leading center of performing arts education in southeast Michigan, offering outstanding educational and performance opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students. MTD students enjoy small classes to learn and grow as musicians, actors and dancers in a collaborative and supportive environment. Theater majors enjoy a highly collaborative atmosphere within the Department. The hallways and classrooms are filled with actors, singers, dancers, designers, instrumentalists and music educators, creating a rich environment where students gain a broad perspective on the performing arts while pursuing a mastery of their artistic disciplines. Distinguished faculty and professional performers also provide excellent teaching and personal mentoring for every student. Live performances are a major focus of the department. This is where a student’s education comes together. Each year, MTD entertains thousands of people at more than 100 events in all areas of music, theater and dance. The department also hosts top-notch national and international talent through its Professional Artist Series. Oakland University’s theater program presents five productions each year. All performances are held in Varner Studio Theatre unless otherwise noted.

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University of Detroit Mercy Theatre Company

Performed at Marygrove Theatre
8425 W. McNichols Rd.
Detroit, MI 48221
(313) 993-3270

The Performing Arts Department at the University of Detroit Mercy provides an apprenticeship system of working with professional actors and directors. Classes are structured around an actor-intensive two-year conservatory system using smaller class sizes, thus providing each actor with maximum master teacher guidance. The department is concerned with stimulating artistic expression by articulate, dynamic and creative people and is designed to prepare students to enter the profession as performers, directors, or educators. Since application of techniques is essential to the performing arts, the department sponsors a season of at least four major productions and student directed one-acts. The UDM Theatre Company, established in 1970, is a professional theater company made of students and faculty from UDM and professional actors in the greater Southeast Michigan community. As members of The Theatre Company, students gain experience in all areas of theater production in plays reviewed by the major critics, and by working alongside professional guest artists and faculty members. Roles in most productions are open to all students, and non-majors are encouraged to participate.

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University of Michigan

The Department of Theatre and Drama
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
(734) 764-2538

Founded in 1880, the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance is one of the finest performing arts schools in the United States. Encompassing programs in dance, music, musical theater, and theater, it is consistently ranked among the top performing arts schools in the country when compared with performance-oriented conservatories or with prestigious academic departments of music. In addition, students have access to the vast resources of a major research institution allowing them to greatly enhance their performing arts training. What makes the School unique is its comprehensiveness: striving to maintain a balanced emphasis on both performance and scholarship while presenting students with the training necessary to excel within their chosen field. A wide variety of programs are offered, from traditional to cutting-edge, from primarily performance-based to those that are more academic, giving students huge resources to draw from in completing their education. Performances are held in a variety of venues throughout the campus area.

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Wayne State University

Bonstelle Theatre

3424 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 577-2960

The BA/BFA program at Wayne State University is recognized nationally by theatrical producers and directors for training disciplined, conscientious and confident actors, designers and technicians. To be an effective educational theater, WSU aims for the highest professional standards. Its artistic and educational values depend partly on complete cooperation and sharing of responsibilities in all areas: Actors assume technical responsibilities and technicians may walk on as actors; students support and assist each other; and all share in the combined results. The Bonstelle Theatre is Wayne State University’s 1,200 seat theater where the undergraduate company performs. It was originally built in 1902 as the Temple Beth-El and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The Bonstelle Theatre was once the home of the famous acting company run by the ground-breaking female actor-manager Jessie Bonstelle. Its stage and seating is reminiscent of a Broadway theater. The undergraduate theater program produces four shows a year ranging from Shakespeare to musicals to world premiere hip hop adaptations.

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