Near West Theatre Opens New Home in Detroit-Shoreway

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Attendees gather around the 'altar of light' in the new Near West Theatre.
  • Attendees gather around the 'altar of light' in the new Near West Theatre.

A volunteer distributes candles.
  • A volunteer distributes candles.
Hundreds of community members and theater supporters showed up yesterday to celebrate the opening of the new Near West Theatre in Detroit-Shoreway — the arts organization's first permanent home since its 1978 creation.

Inside the 24,465-square-foot building at West 67th and Detroit Avenue, people gathered around an "altar of light" in the middle of the new auditorium. Children and adults joined hands and danced to a remixed version of "525,600" minutes from Rent. Applause was ubiquitous. 

Stephanie Morrison Hrbek, founder and executive director of the theater, traded introductory words with Artistic Director Bob Navis Jr. as people poured into the building. They thanked the actors, the investors, the audience members — everyone who'd had a hand in the theater's 37 years. "This theater is your legacy," Navis told the crowd.

"The outpouring of support for our new theater has been truly humbling," Board President Jason Bristol said. "We are grateful to the many individuals and community partners who came together to invest their time, talents and resources to make this new theater possible."

Check out upcoming events here.

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