DETROIT, July 19, 2023–The trailblazing Shakespeare in Detroit, a local non-profit organization bringing open-air plays to the city, today announced it will debut a Techno music-inspired version of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ in downtown Detroit this August 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 & 20. The shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. and be held in Campus Martius Park. The event offers free admission for all, thanks to the Gilbert Family Foundation, which is leading the efforts to bring this experience to the community.
The professional theater company’s founder, Sam White, whose work can also be seen at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, this season (Wedding Band), will direct the mainstage production. This is a particularly salient milestone, as it has been 10 years since the organization pioneered Shakespeare in the park within Detroit’s city limits.
The late 80s/early 90s-era play is told through the lens of a Detroit DJ and harkens back to programs like the iconic The New Dance Show. The production will feature a live DJ, Actors Equity Association actors, local artists and a dance contest during the intermission.
Shakespeare in Detroit will also showcase its youth actors in a traditional version of Macbeth for the first two afternoons of the run, August 11 & 12 at 2 p.m., which will mark the teens’ completion of the organization’s youth program supported by the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation. The program teaches both vocational and artistic skills, and provides $1,000 scholarships each for participants.
“We had an invigorating conversation about our plans to launch a full summer festival with Eric Larson from the Downtown Detroit Partnership last year,” said White. “He was very supportive of the idea and Shakespeare in Detroit using 2023 as a launch pad for bigger things to come with both our youth and professional programs.”
“Downtown Detroit’s public spaces, including Campus Martius Park, are recognized locally and nationally for being active, world class destinations, offering more than 2,000 free, annual events produced and presented by the Downtown Detroit Partnership, many alongside wonderful partners,” said Eric B. Larson, CEO, Downtown Detroit Partnership. “We take great pride in providing a diversity of programs, such as those delivered by Shakespeare in Detroit. They range from music and arts to food and family fun, and signature events, such as the annual Detroit Tree Lighting, for everyone to enjoy, while also promoting, advocating and energizing Downtown Detroit. We are proud to continue our mission of connecting people, places and parks.”
“Businesses may bring people to Detroit, but the arts will make them stay,” she continues. “And we are so grateful for our incredible partner, the Gilbert Family Foundation. Alongside their support for the festival at Campus Martius, they have also enabled us to organize three complimentary community pop-ups preceding the event, in collaboration with the City of Detroit and Healthy Kidz Inc.
“At the Gilbert Family Foundation, we believe that arts and access to cultural events are essential for community well-being,” said Jasmin DeForrest, Director of Arts and Culture, Gilbert Family Foundation. “They have the remarkable ability to inspire, heal and bridge divides, creating spaces where all voices can be heard and celebrated. By supporting programming like Shakespeare in Detroit, we aim to foster creativity and dialogue among Detroiters while strengthening the bonds that bring us all together.”
This year’s program will include a series of readings from the organization’s Black Classical Reading Project, sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council. These readings will take place at the Marygrove Conservancy from 6-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30. This event is free and open to the public.
Macbeth, a rendition by Migdalia Cruz for Play on Shakespeare, will be performed on August 11 and 12, 2023, at 2 p.m., under the direction of Emilio Rodriguez. Play On Shakespeare is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary and modern translations of Shakespeare’s works.
For more information on this summer’s events, visit Shakespeareindetroit.com .
Additional support is provided by the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Strategic Staffing Solutions and Greektown Casino.
Audiences are encouraged to bring their own blanket or lawn chair. All seating is general admission for all performances.
About Shakespeare in Detroit
Shakespeare in Detroit is the pioneering organization of Shakespeare in the park in Detroit proper. The nationally-recognized, Detroit-based organization celebrates ten years of work in the community, beginning with Shakespeare Against Cancer in 2012, which evolved into Shakespeare in Detroit and has produced more than 16 professional shows and facilitated two youth productions via its program, Shakespeare STEAM. SiD began as a site-specific and outdoor Shakespeare organization in 2013 and has evolved into a professional organization based at the Marygrove Conservancy as of June 2021.
About the Gilbert Family Foundation
The Gilbert Family Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation founded by Jennifer and Dan Gilbert to accelerate a cure for neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and build economic opportunity and equity in the city of Detroit. The Gilbert Family Foundation supports groundbreaking, cutting-edge research in hopes of eradicating NF1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves anywhere in the body. Additionally, the Foundation supports the economic stability and mobility of residents in Detroit by investing in wealth-building opportunities and breaking down systemic barriers. For more information on the Gilbert Family Foundation, please visit gilbertfamilyfoundation.org.