Monday, March 2, 2015

Introducing the Slipstream Theatre Initiative

Live theatre is not for everyone, but if you appreciate it as much as I do you can't get enough of it. Watching a play performed live in front of your eyes can be one of the greatest experiences. I would love to see more live theatre in the city of Detroit.

I recently discovered a new theatre company that is about to start a run of great plays here in Detroit.  The company is called The Slipstream Theatre Initiative and their goal is to re-imagine the classics for a current minded audience. A Doll's House will be opening up at the Michigan Actors Studio on March 8th and it will be followed by performances of Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest and Taming of the Shrew over the next few months. We had a chance to talk to Bailey Boudreau, artistic director of the project, to learn more about who they are and what they do. Check out what he had to say about the company.

HID: When was Slipstream Theatre Initiative started?
SS: "The idea of the company was conceived on April 2nd of last year and we were incorporated by May 2nd."

HID: What is the purpose or mission of Slipstream?
SS: "To blur the lines between classical and contemporary theatre by creating original new works and re-imagining classics for a current minded audience. We also strive to connect the dots with local theatre companies, sharing a talent base and demographic by performing on off nights and with a later season kick off."

HID: Who re-writes the plays that you re-imagine?
SS: "They don't actually get re-written, the classics are a classic for a reason and we like to adhere to that. They do get edited for length and characters so that they are a bit more succinct for a weeknight performance. The editing first happens with the person directing the show. Additional edits are made during the rehearsal process, generally from the actors and director."

HID: How do actors become part of the Initiative?
SS: "We do most of our casting from the Detroit Joint General Auditions and the Wayne State Senior Showcase. However, there are always exceptions and roles available, depending on the show, so we take submissions anytime by e-mail at"

HID: Where are your plays performed?
SS: We do most of our shows at Michigan Actors Studio in Ferndale as it is a pretty centralized location and the space itself is very versatile. We recently did a show at The Checker Bar downtown and are always open to using new venues. We make sure that our shows are mobile so that we can take them to schools or other venues if needed."

HID: What do you have playing right now?
SS: Right now we are working on Ibsen's 'A Doll's House', which opens at the Michigan Actors Studio on March 8th. After that we head into a whirlwind, with not much time separating the openings of Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest and Taming of the Shrew."

HID: Why do you perform on "off nights"?
SS: "We don't want to compete for time or audience members with other theatres. We also want to provide something different to do on a weeknight for those not wanting to stay at home or go to their usual hang out spot. Performing on Sundays and Tuesdays through Thursdays allows an alternative for anyone who wants to be out and about on nights when there isn't necessarily a ton going on."

HID: How many people are part of the company?
SS: "It takes a village! There are several members of the company that make the wheels spin but stay off the stage. The ensemble of actors in the company consists of anywhere from 20-30, depending on the season and who we're featuring. Each show has a cast of 7-10 people and while one is rehearsing, one is performing generally. So the ensemble members are utilized all the time."

HID: Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?
SS: "We pair each show with a specific charity, so a portion of ticket sales from each production goes to the charity it is paired with. Also, our tickets are always ten dollars and we offer a Buy One Get One card with each ticket purchased. So if a patron comes to see one show in our season, they will automatically be able to come see any other show in the season for free. Slipstream is very much about community; from having a selected ensemble of actors forming their own very close knit bonds and community to not competing with other theatre companies so that the theatre community in Metro Detroit can continue to grow and thrive and to giving back to the community by pairing with charities. It may not be possible to use the word "community" as many times in one sentence as I just used. We value the artistic integrity of the Metro Detroit area and want very much to make it accessible and non competitive so that we can be on par with larger cities with a highly successful artistic culture like New York, Chicago, etc. Our website is and you can purchase tickets, view videos and pictures from past shows, peruse the company members' bios and make a tax-deductible donation to us or any of the charities we are working with this season all via the website."


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