Shakespeare in Detroit (SiD), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, pioneered the first open-air production of The Bard in Detroit – and with an all-local cast – in August 2013 with Othello at Grand Circus Park.
SiD has engaged with more than 14,000 audience members from several social locations from the city and from outside of Detroit, serving as a cultural commons for all people.
The company finds it imperative to produce exciting, live productions of Shakespeare’s works at various sites throughout the city – from traditional theatres to nontraditional spaces – to give access to both new and conventional theatre audiences, while highlighting Detroit’s vast array of historical structures, venues and parks. This site-specific template has created a movement of new audiences for classical theatre in the city of Detroit and challenged the status quo as it concerns Shakespeare’s canon.
In addition to its site-specific work, SiD is proud to support, hire and advocate for theatre that creates spaces that are both affirmative and reflective, providing an accurate depiction of Southeast Michigan and the world around us.
SiD’s fourteen productions, as well as several readings and events, have been seen everywhere from a recycling center and a historical mansion to parks and an old film studio, in addition to several theatres around the city and state. This has earned the theatre company a reputation as one of the most exciting performing arts experiences in Detroit.
In 2018, the company produced two translated productions of Much Ado Para Nada ( a Spanish/English translation of Much Ado About Nothing by Bernardo Mazón Daher) at Clark Park and Campus Martius along with Twelfth Night (a Play on! translation of the text) in the black box at the Detroit Opera House.
Our work has been featured in media both nationally and internationally from the National Endowment for the Arts podcast to the February 2015 cover of Southwest Airlines’ in-flight magazine and The Windsor Star along with Forbes magazine. In addition, our community impact has also been featured on a local level with media outlets such as WDIV, the NBC affiliate here in Detroit.
The theatre company has employed more than five dozen artists, technicians and designers and inspired others to explore Detroit as a destination for Shakespeare’s works.
For the past 4 years, we have been focused on the development and activation of our Shakespeare STEAM programming in schools, introducing the Science of Lighting a production, the Technology of Sound Design, the Engineering of a form, the Art of classical performance and the Mathematics of building a set to our future audience, students in grades 3 to 12. However, we are proud to announce our return to professional programming with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged/Revised in May 2022, a co-production with the African-American Shakespeare Company (by way of San Francisco, California).
We have had several inquiries regarding the status of our permanent home at Stone Soap Building as shared in 2017 and while that effort has not come to fruition, we are excited to share that we are now based at the former Marygrove College (now the Marygrove Conservancy) as of June 2021. This is the location for our office and costume shop in addition to serving as the home of our youth conservatory and some professional programming.
We understand that while businesses may bring people here, the arts will make them stay. And we couldn't be more excited for the long haul with YOU.
We look forward to seeing you in soon!
~ Team SiD
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
Shakespeare in Detroit was founded by Sam White, an artist, activist and entrepreneur born-n-raised in the city of Detroit. She has won several awards during her tenure at the helm of the organization, including an honor from Detroit Mayor Duggan for Excellence in Theatre in 2014, Crain’s Detroit Business' 40 Under 40 also in 2014, the Breakthrough Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2015, Michigan Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 in 2015 and PEPSI’s Black History Now recognition in 2016. She was also recognized by Complex magazine as one of the “10-Forward-Thinking Entrepreneurs in Detroit.” She continues to also be a highly sought after speaker in North America having taught an exciting meditation-based Shakespeare workshop at the University of Waterloo in 2016 during the PLAY Symposium in Stratford, ON along with two TEDx talks – TEDx Chatham Kent(2016) and TEDx Detroit (2014). In 2019, she was inducted into the Mumford Hall of Fame with the Innovator Award as a Detroit Public Schools alum and she was also recognized as a Michiganian of the Year c/o The Detroit News.
White's credits also include the prestigious 2017 Paul Nicholson Arts Management Fellowship at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is also a member of the 2017 Cohort for ArtEquity in Los Angeles, CA. In addition, White served as the Assistant Director for Antoni Cimolino's 2018 production of The Tempest at the Stratford Festival (Canada). She was also a part of the inaugural 2019 cohort for Classical Directing Fellows at The Old Globe in San Diego, CA. White served as the director of 2019's Twelfth Night at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, UT and completed the Director's Intensive at Yale University during its Summer Session that same year.
White directed A Midsummer Night's Dream for the The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program in 2020, released on YouTube in February 2021. You can view it HERE. She also directed the 2021 production of Romeo and Juliet for the University of Michigan's University Productions, via the School of Music, Theater & Dance.
Our multi-passionate leader also conceived the curriculum for our ongoing summer youth conservatory and directed Romeo & Juliet for the training program in 2021.
She is currently directing Antigone, by Sophocles and adapted by David Mulroy, for UofM's SMTD department. In addition, she has been commissioned to conceive an original idea for the production of one of Shakespeare's plays for The Old Globe in San Diego, CA.
White is also an incoming Assistant Professor of Directing at Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana).