As she headed from her home on Ann Arbor’s west side to the Williamston Theater, where she was appearing in a one-woman play, she thought about a theater in New York City she’d started and worked in when she was in her twenties. She had spent her thirties and forties working at theaters in NYC and elsewhere, the last few years in Michigan. But while Glander says she always enjoys acting and directing, she recalled that night how exciting it had been to run a theater and “invite people to a shared experience, where we all leave the theater surprised and awakened, moved and elated.”

Lynn Lammers had spent that afternoon at MSU, where she is artistic director of the university’s Transforming Theatre Ensemble, which presents scenes to campus groups about issues like bullying and discrimination. Directing at the professional theaters in Michigan engages her interest, too. But as she headed for Williamston, she, too, was thinking about new possibilities.

As Lammers directed Glander in Shirley Valentine, about a woman who escapes her humdrum kitchen-centered life, the two discovered they shared a vision of what theater is and could be–and they decided to create a new theater in Ann Arbor. They would call it Kickshaw, a word Shakespeare used to describe tasty morsels, rare delights. “That was it. That was what we wanted our theater to be,” says Glander.

Although their theater is named for a culinary treat, the plays they’ll do aren’t likely to be set in anybody’s kitchen. Lammers and Glander agree that theater doesn’t have to create the illusion of reality–movies do that better. But only theater can bring people together in a room and allow them to interact with the actors. To insure that intimacy, they are searching for a space that will seat about 150 people.

They aim to do five or six plays each season. “We’re looking for hidden gems, not the hottest thing out of New York,” says Lammers. “I want to lift up voices that we don’t often hear from in the mainstream, the voices that get pushed to the margins. We want plays that mess with form and language, that engage our senses and stretch our aesthetic comfort zone. We’re asking people to be curious, not comfortable.”

Among the candidates is the provocatively named The Ohio State Murders. In another, an Alzheimer’s patient is confused about what is real–and so is the audience. In a third, one actor plays four Watsons; only one is Sherlock’s sidekick. As Lammers and Glander read and explore, the list gets longer. They are whittling it down in January.

Kickshaw will present a few scenes on May 2 to give a taste of what’s to come and will open its first full production in the fall of 2015. They have already raised the money for that first show, including paying professional actors a living wage. Now they are gathering funds for the rest of the season. “We want to have all the money up front, before beginning,” says Glander.

Glander is Kickshaw’s executive director and Lammers is artistic director. Joining them is general manager Jane Griffith. Heidi Bennett will serve as youth liaison, and Glander’s sister, Janice, a fund-raiser for U-M, is advising them on raising money.

Even Ann Arbor’s new mayor is involved: Christopher Taylor contributed the legal work to get Kickshaw nonprofit status with the IRS, making contributions tax deductible.