August 21, 2023

Warriors in the Community, episode 19: The Hilberry Gateway

Michael J. Barnes
Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters.
This week’s episode features associate professor Michael J. Barnes, the interim chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, discussing the new Hilberry Gateway, the new performance home for Theatre and Dance. Recently opened at the corner of Cass and Forest Avenues, the Hilberry Gateway houses two state-of-the-art theatres with 21st-century design technology and is set to be a key entertainment hub for the city.


Intro: This is “Warriors in the Community” brought to you by Wayne State University, and now to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our community, here is Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Today our guest is Michael J. Barnes, interim chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theater and Dance, and he's here to talk about the newly constructed Hilberry Gateway.

Can you give us some of the highlights of the new features?

Michael Barnes: We now have two theaters in a brand new space. The large theater, which is called the Stage, our Presidium stage, which is the traditional kind of picture frame stage, has 513 seats. We actually have leg room now. We also have an amazing new black box theater called the Studio, and we have some state-of-the-art facilities for our scene shops and our costume shops, which have been in a very old building. Let's just say that. 

Michael J. Barnes
Associate professor Michael J. Barnes, the interim chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance.

Darrell Dawsey: What are some other key reasons we needed this entertainment space?

Michael Barnes: The thing that I tell people all the time is that in the sciences a few years ago, we built IBio as this amazing new laboratory for their students. And this, in essence is our version of IBio. We needed a laboratory to really teach our students in the best way possible.

Darrell Dawsey: Are we also opening this space to the larger arts community in Detroit?

Michael Barnes: One of the main reasons this was called a Gateway, as we looked at this as being a new gateway for the south part of the campus into the community. And so we are really looking to use this as an opportunity to partner with organizations around the city.

Darrell Dawsey: So can you give us a sense of what the community can look forward to seeing in the theater?

Michael Barnes: In terms of fall offerings, we'll be opening with a really lovely play called Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson, who's the most produced playwright in the country right now. Then we go into opening Halloween weekend with the Rocky Horror Show.

We will then have our December dance concert showing in the space. And we have a third piece called The Wolves. That is a really great piece about a a woman's soccer team. 

Extro: This has been “Warriors in the Community.” For more Wayne State News, please visit us online at and join us here next Monday at the same time for more warriors in the community.

Faculty spotlight


Darrell Dawsey
Phone: 313-577-1204

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