A 102-year-old garage in Midtown will be revived into the permanent home of Detroit Public Theatre (DPT). The exterior building renovation is done, and work is starting to renovate the interior into a black box theatre, bar and lobby, rehearsal space, dressing room, and bookshop.

Rendering of the future foyer for the theatre.Dash Marshall

Since its founding in 2015, DPT has mainly staged plays at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. A space committee formed within the group to locate a more permanent home for the theatre to accommodate their growth. They knew they wanted to stay in Midtown, around other cultural institutions. Sue Mosey from Midtown Detroit Inc. showed them the building at 3960 Third Avenue, and DPT signed a long-term lease.

The building before the exterior renovation.Photos by Courtney Burkett

The building dates back to 1919 and was first used as a parking garage. It also had a short life as a factory for Bays English Muffins. It's owned by 3 Mission Partners, who is also the developer on the project.

Courtney Burkett, Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Detroit Public Theatre, says that they want to create a warm and welcoming environment in the theatre. "We want people to feel like this is their theatre, and that their lives are represented on the stage," she says. "This new space will give us a new opportunity to really engage with the audience."

A rendering of the black box theatre.Dash Marshall

“There's something magic and organic that happens at Detroit Public Theatre — and this new permanent home will help expand our impact and reach. The magic happens when our audiences experience Detroit Public Theatre's riveting stories on stage — stories that speak to all of us, stories that represent us in all our complexity, stories that make our city more connected,” said Detroit native and DPT Executive Artistic Producer Dominique Morisseau, a 2018 MacArthur Genius Fellow. “In addition to housing our work, this building will support a thriving theatre community in Detroit by providing residencies so other companies and artists have a place to create and present their work.”

The interior of the building is 7,000 square feet, with a 200-seat theatre. It's expected to open in spring 2022. 

DPT is holding a free, family-friendly summer block party on Saturday, July 10 from 2-10 p.m. around the corner at the Selden Courtyard at 656 Selden.