The Community Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announce $1.2 million in support of Detroit theaters with Staging Change Detroit program

In General,Press Release

Today, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced $1.2 million in support of 10 theatre organizations in Detroit through Staging Change Detroit, an innovative program committed to supporting efforts to innovate, reach new audiences and enrich the arts and culture community.

This round of grants is the implementation of lessons learned and ideas generated from previous Staging Change Detroit support.

The theater organizations came together as a cohort to discuss what it means to respond adaptively to complex challenges in theater and what innovation means today in the changing landscape of arts and culture.

“A vibrant theater scene in Detroit is vital to our economy and plays an essential role in our community,” said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation, “The Community Foundation is pleased to partner with the Knight Foundation on Staging Change Detroit to continue investing in and supporting talent and innovation in the local arts sector.”

The 10 Detroit theater organizations receiving grants from Staging Change Detroit include:

  • The Hinterlands — $75,000 for expanded programming, including support for local artists and a space to engage and collaborate with international artists.
  • Shakespeare in Detroit — $100,000 for a return to in-person, onstage performance and capacity building.
  • Detroit Public Theatre — $100,000 for the launch of an accessibility initiative and connectivity and engagement management.
  • Plowshares Theatre — $100,000 for the production, “Hastings Street,” an original musical about the erasure of a Black business district.
  • Black & Brown Theatre — $65,000 for digital and in-person expansion of a theatrical series targeted to children, families, and educators.
  • A Host of People — $100,000 for the theatre’s ensemble to bolster core staff positions to bridge administrative and artistic functions.
  • Mosaic Youth Theatre — $125,000 for expanding programming and upgrades to operational and programmatic technology and equipment.
  • Matrix Theatre — $85,000 for increased organizational capacity, expanded community programming, and technology and digitalization needs.
  • Planet Ant — $125,000 for improvements to the physical and digital infrastructure while building capacity and expanding community impact.
  • CMAP (Carrie Morris Arts Production) $115,000 for changes to its organizational structure and implementing a multilingual rebrand.

“The support from the Staging Change program is not just significant to our ensemble, A Host of People, but to the growth, sustainability, and vibrancy of the theater community in Detroit,” said Sherrine Azab, co-director, A Host of People.

“This type of funding that allows artists and arts organizations to take the lead on addressing their own challenges and needs is crucial. It always has been, but even more so now as our needs and the field evolve through these challenging times.”

Prior to the pandemic, these organizations took part in a series of workshops in which they were able to share ideas about innovating in the theater space.

The workshops — led by New York based arts organization EmcArts — addressed issues and situations theater organizations face when dealing with complex challenges, research, and helped them develop and strengthen their communication skills, leadership skills, and overall organizational awareness.

Staging Change Detroit also helped participants build a sense of community, which has been helpful in brainstorming new events and growing new connections with audiences.

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