2018 Detroit Preview

Theatre Historical Society of America will be holding their annual conclave and historical theater tour in Detroit June 18 – 24, 2018. With that in mind, I recently visited Detroit and got to shot some of these amazing theatres.

Post WW1 saw Detroit’s automotive industry at its peak when most of these theatres were built. Jazz was swinging the city and art deco was all the rage. There was money to be made, and people flocked to the city from far and wide for well-paying jobs. After work, they wanted to be entertained! This is a city full of jaw-dropping pre-Depression architecture. Detroit, more so than any other North American city, illustrates how demographic and economic forces dramatically changed the landscape of theatres in an urban setting.  A small startup called The Nederlander Organization was born here, growing into the national powerhouse it now is. The city has one of United States’ largest surviving collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century buildings.

Today, downtown Detroit is again bursting with newfound energy. Everywhere you look, you see renovations in progress. The streets are bustling, with lots to see and do. Detroit is no longer the ghost town it was 5 years ago. In the central portions of Detroit, the population of young professionals, artists, and other transplants is growing and retail is expanding. This dynamic is luring additional new residents, and former residents returning from other cities to the city’s Downtown along with the revitalized Midtown and New Center areas.

You can find out more about the upcoming Conclave, and how you can participate in the historical theater tours here. I hope to see you there!

Mark Mulhall

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