Hilberry Gateway Performance Complex Wayne State

photo: Wayne State University

Wayne State University Approves $65M Performance Arts Complex

March 24, 2018 - 10:26 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - Wayne State University has approved plans for a $65 million performance arts complex in the heart of Midtown Detroit.

Plans for the new Hilberry Gateway Performance Complex call for the renovation of the current Hilberry Theatre and creation of a 71,300-square-foot addition for a state-of-the-art venue for theatre, music, dance and arts-related events.

"The immense talent of our students and faculty at last will have the arts facilities to match," President M. Roy Wilson said in a statement. "I can't wait for opening night."

The total cost of the project is $65 million, $55 million of which will be funded by bonds approved in February by the Board of Governors. The balance will be funded by private gifts, including generous support from Gretchen Valade.

Work on the project will begin this fall with construction of a new main theatre on the corner of Cass and Forest, adjacent to the current venue. 

The new facility will feature a full-thrust stage with appropriate wing space for the Hilberry to pursue more complicated productions and smoothly transition between productions. The facility will include dressing rooms, makeup rooms and green rooms. The theatre will feature up-to-date lighting, sound and video infrastructure, ensuring students and audiences experience the latest in theatrical and dance production. Adjoining scenic, scenic art and costume studios, as well as scenery storage areas, will be constructed. A modern café, a patron lounge and a gallery showcasing the history of the Hilberry program will also provide space for guests to socialize.

Once the new theatre is completed, the current Hilberry Theatre will be reconstructed into the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. This portion of the project was made possible by $9.5 million in gifts.