Kent Martin, a Detroit actor and artistic director who ran the State Fair Theatre, a small Equity company in the 1980s, died Sept. 8 in Detroit of health issues related to prostate cancer.
Mr. Martin's company offered a number of American classics, such The Member of the Wedding, and even staged new works by local playwrights, including Kitty Dubin. The troupe, using multicultural talent, operated on a shoestring budget in an auditorium on the state fairgrounds off Woodward Avenue.
Mr. Martin, a Kentucky native, was also a math teacher for many years. He worked as an actor in various resident and community stagings. He was 72.
He and his family asked the donations in his name be given to Plowshares Theatre Company, Motown's resident African American company that came into prominence after the time of State Fair Theatre. Plowshares artistic director Gary Anderson told Playbill On-Line he was taken aback by the generosity of the gesture, especially since he did not know Mr. Martin well.
Nevertheless, Anderson said he was inspired by Mr. Martin's past theatrical ventures. "I've been inspired by everybody black who has done stuff in this city and I've tried to build on the work they've done in the past," Anderson said. "I've been using those lessons to make sure Plowshares becomes a stable institution."
-- By Kenneth Jones