My Concentrate story about professional theater companies putting down roots in small towns

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Joe Zettelmaier, Joey Albright, and Anna Simmons recently founded Roustabout Theatre Company, which is kicking off with events in Milan, Michigan. (Photo by Doug Coombe for Concentrate.)

One of the Ann Arbor area’s oldest and most distinguished theaters, Ann Arbor’s Performance Network Theatre, closed its doors in December after 34 years in business. But multiple smaller theater companies in the area have found considerable success in recent years by moving away from the traditional cultural center of Ann Arbor.

Recent years have seen the arrival of new companies in smaller communities like Milan, Dexter, and Pinckney – places where the local arts marketplace is less crowded, rent and/or building prices are affordable, and a tight-knit community feels a sense of cultural pride and ownership. What’s more, these theaters often bring people (and their wallets) to their communities’ downtowns, making professional theaters a more appealing economic engine. In this unusual moment for local theater, we took a look at how several new area theater companies are choosing where to put down stakes in hopes of long-term success. READ THE REST HERE


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