Ringwald Theatre owners Joe Bailey and Brandy Joe Plambeck are excited to be able to keep their shows in Ferndale. They previously thought they might have to move out of town after the theater didn’t renew its Woodward Avenue building lease.

Ringwald Theatre owners Joe Bailey and Brandy Joe Plambeck are excited to be able to keep their shows in Ferndale. They previously thought they might have to move out of town after the theater didn’t renew its Woodward Avenue building lease.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Affirmations, Ringwald form partnership to allow theater to stay in Ferndale

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published June 10, 2021

Advertisement

FERNDALE — A longtime Ferndale venue that previously announced it had to leave its space is now staying in town.

The Ringwald Theatre opened its 22742 Woodward Ave. space in 2007 and ran shows out of the venue until it was forced to close in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In November, the Ringwald revealed it wasn’t renewing its lease, and it was unknown whether it would be able to remain in Ferndale.

However, on June 1, Ringwald and Affirmations announced a partnership to let the theater run shows out of Affirmations’ 290 W. Nine Mile Road building, tentatively scheduled for this fall.

Affirmations Executive Director Dave Garcia always wanted a theater space in the LGBTQ+ community center. He asked Ringwald co-owners Joe Bailey and Brandy Joe Plambeck to come over to gather ideas about how Affirmations could be used in that capacity.

It was during that talk that the idea of a partnership was developed.

“The timing just worked out,” Garcia said. “I really liked the idea the more I started thinking about it. I liked the idea, first of all, that they wouldn’t leave Ferndale because they’ve been around a long time and I’ve gone to many of their shows. I was just personally disappointed about the possibility of them leaving the city.”

Garcia said the partnership would allow them to have a workforce development program with their youth group, where they could learn about set design and supply chains, possibly hold shows, and work concessions, and any money they make would return to the program.

He also noted that the old Ringwald space was small.

“We have a huge lobby and we have a cafe space. We have plenty of bathrooms that you don’t have to walk across the stage to get to, and there’s a lot of parking around Affirmations, where parking was always an issue over there on Woodward,” he said. “It just seemed like everywhere we turned, (the move) made sense.”

Plambeck said conversations started about potentially making a community room at Affirmations into a black box theater. Now that it’s actually happening and the Ringwald will be operating in Affirmations, the theater is working on raising money to outfit its space, because it’s only an empty room as of now.

The theater is aiming to acquire curtains, lighting and more.

“We’re probably most excited about the partnership possibilities between us and Affirmations,” Plambeck said. “Like, they have youth programs, they have senior programs, they have a lot of things they can do that we’re looking forward to connecting with, different outreach programs, which is not something we’ve really been able to do before.”

Plambeck said he was excited for the Ringwald to be able to remain in Ferndale.

“We’ve always loved Ferndale so much,” he said. “It’s a great community. It’s sort of the gayborhood of Detroit, if you will, and while we’re not exclusively a gay theater, I mean, we do a little bit of everything … it was always a dream of ours to stay in Ferndale. We just were open to the possibility of going wherever the best fit was, and it just so happened it was … in our backyard the whole time.”

Advertisement