December 1, 2023

Students at Wayne State will soon have a new theatre just blocks away from campus. 

The Detroit Public Theatre, a nationally recognized theatre program based in Detroit, is building a 200-seat theatre out of a former English muffin factory on Third Avenue in Midtown.

WSU alumni Sarah Clare Corporandy received her MFA from The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance in 2007 and she helped found DPT in 2015, according to its website.

“I lived in Cass Corridor in college and I always wanted to come give back,” Corporandy said. “We want to create a space for us to share our stories with each other through our residency program for artists.” 

The 7,500 square-foot building known as the “Third Avenue Garage” is where DPT will pilot its first residency program and new theatre location this fall. 

John Slone III, producing artistic director of Obsidian Theatre Festival/Ghostlight Productions, said the space is fitted for all forms of artistic production.

“This is a space that is particularly suited for production; it has electric capabilities to be able to support lights and sound equipment, dressing rooms, restrooms, entertainment space, and seating,” Slone said. 

Corporandy said the proximity to WSU should benefit the art culture in the Cass Corridor. 

“It was always our dream that when we got big enough to (move into a larger space), that we would…provide residency space to other performing arts organizations,” Producing Artistic Director Sarah Winkler said.

Winkler said the program would provide one fully-subsidized residency and two partially-subsidized residencies. Artists living in the residencies will have access to the black box theatre, two dressing rooms, lighting and projection equipment.

“(In the future) we’re hoping to get some funding and sponsorships so that we can welcome more arts organizations in and do longer residencies,” Winkler said.

Winkler said the theatre has already received intent to apply forms to show interest in the program. 

All forms of art are welcome to apply for usage of the space, including dance, opera, theatre, performance art, literary art/spoken word, puppetry, music and film. 

Slone said the goal of the space is to provide a stage for organizations and deliver a variety of artists to the community. 

“It’s really important that this space is one that is accessible to every person that resides in this city, to everybody that wants to create art, and know that this is a space for them to be able to come, feel safe, and be able to produce their own work,” he said. 

Corporandy said the location is full of diversity and has importance due to its ties to the cultural center. 

“I like being close to Wayne State and we can only do good things by being close to them,” she said. “I met my husband at Hillberry and now, it’s my time to thank Detroit by starting Third Avenue Garage.”

Third Avenue Garage will open its doors in September and have residency decisions by Oct. 1.

Grace Reyes is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at 

Cover photo by Grace Reyes.

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