Sometimes you want to run away with the circus. Sometimes, you build the circus yourself. Gather ‘round the campfire and I’ll tell you a tale of two Joes.
Joseph Zettelmaier is an award-winning playwright with over 20 professional productions to his name. He’s taught at Eastern Michigan University for over a decade and been produced locally and internationally. Joseph Albright is a professional actor and director, appearing both on stage and on screen. He’s also been the Theatre Director at Ypsilanti’s Corner Health Center for many years.
Two years ago, on a lovely summer afternoon, the two Joes were enjoying a meal at Ypsilanti’s Sidetrack Bar & Grill, and the question was asked: “What if we start a theater?” The reasons behind it were many:
To help revitalize the local economy in Michigan towns
To create opportunities for students to build a resume prior to graduation
To build an artistic home for all of the talented theatre professionals in this state
Why the name Roustabout? Well, a roustabout is “a circus worker who assembles and dismantles tents, cares for the grounds, and handles animals and equipment.” We were drawn to the idea of performance that moves; that travels; and to us, the roustabout also symbolizes working with your hands, rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work – not for the glory of the spotlight, but because that’s the job.
So, we’ve loaded up the wagons, tied down the tents, and fired up the engines. The calliope is secured, the performers have buckled their belts, and we’re ready to take to the road.
We’re the Roustabout Theatre Troupe, and we’ll meet you where you are!