Friends of the Alger Theater is an all-volunteer driven, non-profit community-based organization comprised of neighborhood residents and businesses founded in 1983. The organization was formed to address the decay and deterioration encroaching the neighborhood and to respond to the historic significance of the Alger Theater located at 16451 East Warren Avenue on Detroit’s far-east side.
From its opening to the public in 1935 until its closing in 1985, the “stately art deco movie house” known as the Alger Theater provided Detroit eastside residents with artistic and cultural enrichment. The 12,000 sq. ft., 800-seat theater was convenient, affordable and a state of the art facility - offering family friendly live performances and motion picture features. Neighboring merchants along East Warren Avenue were patronized by theater goers creating a vibrant, thriving community.
Planning for major restoration is currently underway along with raising funds for one repair at a time. In addition to individual contributions, membership dues, and special events, the Friends pursue funding from foundations and other granting organizations.
To date we have received support from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Skillman Foundation, New Detroit, Next Detroit Neighborhood Initiative and Lear Corporation. We have also collaborated with the Detroit Film Theater at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Cinetopia Cinema Circus and the Freep Film Festival.
The Alger renovation project provides tangible evidence to residents, business owners and institutions that the commitment, dedication and perseverance of a small group of volunteers can result in positive change for a community. Since 1986 the Friends have preserved the structure by conducting grassroots fundraising for ongoing maintenance, emergency repairs and the installation of our rooftop patio.
Today the Alger Theater marquee is lit daily to announce community news, block club meetings, births, graduations, anniversaries, etc., and serves to keep the significance of the theater prominent in the minds of the community.
Inside the theater, the lobby and foyer have been host to various special events including Motor City Match awards, City of Detroit Planning and Development Department's GAP GAP park design awards, and Design Core's Designer Dating Game.
Stabilization of the theater auditorium ceiling is the only remaining challenge to temporary occupancy of the auditorium. Friends of the Alger Theater continue to raise funds to clear the obstacles to providing our programming partner organizations such as Detroit Actors Theater Company, and our neighbors with a welcoming space for performances and events.
Fundraising for completion of the storefronts for these tenants is underway. For September 2019 we are hosting the City of Detroit's Planning Department, Bedrock and Design Core's Design 139 show. The space is open five days a week for viewing.
The newly installed rooftop patio over the theater storefronts will be is activated during the summer for various events. Community groups looking to make a reservation should email firstname.lastname@example.org.