The Ringwald Theatre announced that it would be letting its lease expire at the end of the month. The venue, along with other entertainment spaces, has been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ringwald Theatre announced that it would be letting its lease expire at the end of the month. The venue, along with other entertainment spaces, has been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

File photo provided by the Ringwald Theatre

Ringwald Theatre to vacate Woodward Avenue space

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published November 20, 2020


FERNDALE — The Ringwald Theatre, a well-known entertainment venue in downtown Ferndale, will be vacating its space at the end of the month.

In a Nov. 9 message to the Ferndale community, the Ringwald announced it would not renew the lease at its 22742 Woodward Ave. location. The lease is set to expire at the end of November.

Brandy Joe Plambeck, co-founder and media director at the theater, told the Woodward Talk that with the recent rise in COVID-19 numbers, the uncertainty of when they might be able to reopen, and the possibility of finding a space that might be better than the one they currently have, he and co-founder Joe Bailey felt that if there was ever a time for them to make a move, it was now.

“I think it was just sort of a culmination of a lot of different factors, and it just seemed like the right time to do it, because if we signed another lease, and if we weren’t able to start performing for a whole nother year, it just would be an awful lot of money put down for a space we’re not able to effectively use,” he said. “That was really the big factor in it, because I feel like we have enough income that we could have gone a little longer, but just the uncertainty of how long it would be was kind of the deciding factor.”

The Ringwald took over its Woodward Avenue location in November 2006 before officially opening in May 2007 with its first show, “Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy.” The theater continued showcasing local artists for the next 13 years before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered it and other entertainment venues around the state and country.

Plambeck said it was never an option for Bailey and himself to shut down the Ringwald for good.

“It’s never been a discussion whatsoever to just close our doors,” he said. “We definitely love what we do and we want to keep doing it, and we’re going to keep producing content. It’s just going to be in a different way, until we have a space. I think we’re definitely over doing the Zoom presentation we have been doing, and I feel like now it’s sort of stepping up our game and realizing this may go on for some time and coming up with some cool ideas to keep creating content. The discussion to just be done has never been an option.”

Plambeck said they haven’t found another location yet, but he doesn’t foresee them committing to anything until next year. He also said they’ll be keeping their options open as to where they might find a new space for the Ringwald, though he’d love to stay in Oakland County.

“We would really love to stay in Ferndale,” he said. “We really love the city, but we’re definitely looking in other neighboring places in Oakland County, but we’re open to really a whole new change, given the right space. So we have been looking, but we’re not thinking that we’re going to make that leap anytime soon.”

Ferndale Community and Economic Development Director Jordan Twardy called the Ringwald an iconic part of the downtown and said that it’s never easy to lose something like the theater.

“Certainly, in every downtown, these kinds of things do happen over time, and my standpoint is whatever happens, whatever is right for a business, whatever is best for a business, only they can determine that,” he said.

Twardy said that if the Ringwald’s owners are looking for help in finding a space, he said the city will gladly help them.

“We’re gonna reach out. We’ll do whatever we can to help,” he said. “If there is a location that works for them in Ferndale, we will help find it if that’s something they want, and it’s something we would be very interested in doing. If they find a location elsewhere, that’s happened before. That’s a natural course of the life of the downtown and the life of a business.”