65 YEARS OF HISTORY
In 1947 Grosse Pointe Theatre’s founder, the late Russel Werneken, went door-to-door to secure funds to create a community theatre for Grosse Pointe area residents that offered close-to-home, quality theatrical productions. From a humble nucleus of 38 charter members who had faith in Russ’ vision, Grosse Pointe Theatre has grown in membership to over 400 people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all parts of the greater Detroit metropolitan area.
Our first production was Booth Tarkington’s Clarence, which is the name of the statuettes we award at our annual banquet. In those early years we rehearsed in member’s basements and church halls and performed wherever space was available. In 1961 the new Fries Auditorium at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial became our permanent performance “home.”
A long search for our own office, rehearsal, and storage space resulted in the 1981 acquisition and year-long restoration of the historic building at 315 Fisher Rd. A two-story addition houses our scene shop and additional costume storage.
We are actively involved in giving back to the community. Contributions include: the annual awarding of theatrical scholarships to deserving high school students to be used for college or training classes; professionally mentored workshops open to all who are interested in the theatrical arts; a Youth on Stage program for children ages eight to 14; and entertainment at various community events through two outreach programs, one of which, Encore Players, features our Senior actors.
Grosse Pointe Theatre is a member of American Association of Community Theatres, Community Theatre Association of Michigan, Theatre Association of Michigan, and the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce. During our 65 year history we have assembled considerable resources that we are happy to share with other theatre arts groups. We invite you to get to know the many facets of GPT.