Plowshares Theatre Company is a unique voice in Detroit’s arts community. We produce a season of inspirational and entertaining plays each year, setting the African American experience in context, for discerning patrons.

The name of the theatre company is synonymous with its mission: Plowshares seeks to “break new ground” by nurturing emerging talent in a place where they can work learn and grow, offering patrons exciting opportunities for cultural enrichment, and providing a welcoming home for our best artists.

Gary Anderson and Michael Garza founded Plowshares Theatre Company in 1989. Since its inception Plowshares has received critical and public acclaim for the quality of its productions, including nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Production from both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Today, Plowshares Theatre Company is recognized as Michigan’s only professional African American theatre company, one of only 76 in the nation. In 1994, Plowshares initiated the New Voices Play Development Program to nurture and promote new works by emerging and established African American writers. Over the past twelve years, Plowshares has gained a reputation for producing high quality, professional theater that depicts the richness of African-American life and culture with themes that transcend all humanity. This reputation has helped to cultivate an ever-growing, enthusiastic audience and to enhance the quality of life in Detroit and the surrounding communities.

Since 1990, Plowshares Theatre Company has been serving the people of Southeastern Michigan in a manner consistent with its mission by producing relevant, high quality African American theater for a culturally and socially diverse audience. As is our tradition, we regularly present a season of Detroit and Michigan premieres. Topical African American voices such as August Wilson, Richard Wesley, OyamO, Eugene Lee, Pearl Cleage and Shay Youngblood are given the opportunity to be heard by our appreciative audiences. These plays confront life in all its fullness with wit, grace, humor, and power. By regularly presenting new works and developing local talent, Plowshares has had an impact on American theater on a regional and national level.



Mission Statement

Plowshares Theatre Company exists to bring to life passionate stories, plays and programs told through the prism of the African American experience celebrating enduring themes that affirm, exhibit and inspire our shared humanity.


Plowshares Theatre Company seeks to set a national standard for ambitious programming, engaging with our audience and serving as a leader within our community for the collective development of all.

Our vision begins with the artist and ends with the audience. Our challenge is to nurture both.

Core Values

Affirm: Like the storytelling griots of West Africa, we use the magic of the spoken word and the lyrical phrase of a song to navigate the human condition. We share lessons learned by our ancestors and pass them on to the next generation. We encourage our audience to engage in a dialogue of ideas and to pursue lifelong learning as a core community value.

Exhibit: We endeavor to be a home for the most talented emerging and established artists. To be a place where actors, playwrights, directors and designers may imagine, nurture and realize their best work and excite our audience.

Inspire: From our productions to our outreach and education programming, Plowshares Theatre Company uses theatre as a means to challenge, excite, and unleash the untapped potential in all of those whose experience our work.

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