Shakespeare in Detroit announces fusion of classical theater with Detroit original architecture
DETROIT—Shakespeare in Detroit (SiD) will open its 4th season with the story of one of history’s most epic leaders, Henry V, directed by D.B. Schroeder. Performances will be held at an historic property in Detroit on Thursday, March 23rd, Friday, March 24th and Saturday, March 25th at 8:00pm and Sunday, March 26th at 3:00pm.
The site-specific performance is presented by The Banyan Foundation, which is donating the performance space located at 8109 E. Jefferson in the West Village neighborhood. The Tudor home was built in the early 1900s for Frederick K. Stearns, a Detroit pharmaceutical manufacturer. The Banyan Foundation’s CEO, Aamir Farooqi, is a huge fan of Henry V and is delighted to host SiD’s production.
“When the theatre company approached me about doing a performance of Henry V in one of our properties, I was very open to it because the play happens to be my favorite,” says Farooqi. “It’s very interesting to repurpose this historical space for such a powerful story and fuse two things I am very passionate about – reinvigorating Detroit and Shakespeare.”
SiD’s founding artistic and executive director, Sam White, chose the space because of its rich heritage and her desire to produce a site-specific, chamber theatre experience that also has some elements of Shakespeare’s time. “One of my favorite aspects of Detroit is its spaces and buildings, which are vast and have an incredible history, but I also thought it was interesting to stage the play in a Tudor-style mansion, thus paying homage to Elizabeth I, the Tudor queen of England who reigned during Shakespeare’s lifetime (1564-1616),” she says.
The performance will take place in an intimate setting, in the round, in the mansion’s ballroom, which includes an ornate chandelier, providing shared light for the audience and actors.
D.B. Schroeder returns to SiD after his Wilde Award nomination for the company’s Macbeth, nearly two years ago at New Center Park. He is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to take on another production with a much more unique spirit than his first SiD show. “It’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to explore different means of sharing Shakespeare here in the city,” says Schroeder. “I enjoyed directing the larger, outdoor production of Macbeth and now I look forward to a more up-close-and-personal production of Henry V in this beautiful space.”
SiD’s director of costume design, Cal Schwartz, returns with another inspiring, period design. “The space and the time in which the home was built are central to the inspiration for my design,” says Schwartz. “I’m excited to create a tangible flashback to the world and our city’s history for our patrons in one of Detroit’s historical spaces, in arguably one of its most interesting neighborhoods with a future as bright and wonderful as its past.”
Tickets are $25 and are available online at www.shakespeareindetroit.com.