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Theater Uprooted

Zoning moves the New Theatre Project

by Davi Napoleon

Published in August, 2011

Shortly after the New Theatre Project spent $3,500 to remodel a space on Felch Street, the City of Ann Arbor discovered their performances were occurring in a building zoned as "light industrial" and sent TNTP packing. This came as a shock to artistic director Keith Paul Medelis, who'd been putting on shows in Pot & Box in the same building for a year before creating a dedicated performance space. TNTP could have applied for a zoning exception, but the city wanted $1,000 just to evaluate its petition, and the group was out of money.

Putting his July production, Posing, on hold, Medelis resumed his search for a theater. TNTP had previously done a series of play readings at Mix, an Ypsilanti store whose owners had been pushing clothes racks aside to accommodate evening readings, opera recitals, book signings, and other community events. And word came the store was expanding its space on Michigan Avenue at Washington to include Mix Studio Theatre.

In short order, TNTP became the resident theater at Mix, and Medelis signed on to book other groups, too. In January 2012, ThreeFold Productions opens there, headed by Sarah Lucas, who directed last season's stunning production of Equus at the Blackbird Theatre in Ann Arbor. In July, ThreeFold members painted and renovated the Mix space while Medelis rehearsed Posing (see Events, August 2). This time, the show really should go on: Mix's zoning permits arts presentations.     (end of article)

[Originally published in August, 2011.]


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