In June of 2022, the Baldwin Theatre turned 100 marking a major milestone in the theater's history. In May 2023, members and benefactors came together to celebrate this milestone and to thank the tireless efforts of the 1985 Restoration Team. A part of that celebration was this video tribute to the Baldwin's history and our volunteers. We hope you enjoy watching this historical look back at how it all happened.
The Baldwin Theatre opened its doors in 1922. It was, by all reports, one of the most beautiful theatres in the Midwest. Vaudeville acts, silent films, concerts, and all manner of live shows lit the Baldwin stage. In the 1940s it became the Washington Theatre and a silver screen replaced live theatre. Decades later, under threat of demolition, the Baldwin was acquired by Stagecrafters and restored to its former beauty. It reopened in 1985 with Stagecrafters’ production of The Music Man. Since that time, Stagecrafters has staged hundreds of productions for the enjoyment and entertainment of our entire community.
On Monday, July 8, 2013 the Royal Oak City Commission recognized this historical gem by voting to designate the Baldwin Theatre a local historic district, as reported in the article from the Royal Oak Patch, included below. Also linked below is the Final Report from the Royal Oak Historic District Study Committee that highlights the history of the Baldwin, as well as Stagecrafters’ part in renovating this historic gem.
In 1956 two ambitious teens from Clawson decided to start a theatre group. Eight people showed up at the first meeting. From those tenuous beginnings, a vibrant theatre community grew into one of Metro Detroit’s most popular community theatres. Housed in the historic Baldwin Theatre in downtown Royal Oak, Stagecrafters is now in its 67th Season of entertaining audiences by bringing Broadway a little closer to home.
In 1983, Stagecrafters received international attention. We were selected to participate in an exchange with a theatre group in St. Albans, England under the auspices of the International Amateur Theatre Association - The Company of Ten.
To help pay the expenses of our participants we began a year of non-stop fundraising, including our first Las Vegas party. In March of 1984, Stagecrafters traveled to St. Albans, England, to present A Visit to a Small Planet on the stage of the Abbey Theatre. The friendships and ties started in St. Albans resulted in the establishment of a “Sister Theatre” commitment between the groups that continues today.
Shows exchanged between the two theatres include:
1987 - Two By Two
2000 - Starting Here, Starting Now
Company of Ten
2003 – Habeas Corpus