We’re celebrating #internationalwomensday, honoring the remarkable women who’ve made an impact in theatre and dance, both here at Wayne State University and around the world.

Ruth Lovell Murray was director of the first dance club at Wayne State. She became a leading figure in dance education. Murray received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts from Columbia Teachers College in New York. According to Murray, she and other dance teachers in colleges around the country left New York to return to their colleges and “just pestered everybody until they brought artists like Martha Graham they had studied with to campus to perform.” This “gymnasium circuit” kept these dance companies going financially during the 1930s. Murray influenced the philosophy and form that dance was to take by her continued experimentation in the field, especially dance for children.

Maggie Allesee, whose generous support of the arts at Wayne State University — theatre and dance in particular — inspired the renaming of the dance department in 2000, ultimately merging with theatre to become the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance in 2012. Her contributions as a volunteer, philanthropist, and community and civic leader have been vast and varied. An avid supporter of the arts, she has served as a board member for the Cranbrook Academy of Arts, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Detroit Metropolitan Dance Project, Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, Meadow Brook Theatre, Michigan Opera Theatre, Music Hall, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Oakland University Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, Kendall College of Art and Design, the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, Wayne State Hilberry Understudies, and many more.

There are so many more women who’ve shaped who we are today. We honor all of them, today and every day, who’ve inspired us and impacted our success.

Thank you for inspiring us to greatness, for lifting us up when we are low, and for helping make Detroit a cultural center for generations.

Explore stories about powerful women with us this Spring!

Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks
March 22 to April 13, 2019

Venus by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks, is based on the true life story of Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman who was became an unfortunate star on the 19th Century London freak show circuit.

Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia!
April 5 to 14, 2019

Mamma Mia! may be fictional but you can’t deny the the strength of a single mother raising a daughter far from home. Inspired by the music of ABBA, Mamma Mia! has delighted almost 60 million people around the world.

Angels in America
Angels in America by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner
Part Two: Perestroika — April 26 to May 12, 2019
See both Parts One and Two back-to-back on Sunday, May 5 or Saturday, May 11

Angels in America, Tony Kushner’s epic drama examines homosexuality, race, and AIDS in 1980s America. At the center of this story are women who, at first meeting, appear fragile and haunted, but find strength in one another and in themselves.