The circa 1924 barn at the corner of Hall and Garfield roads was put into service by Macomb Community College as Macomb Theatre At-The-Barn in 1969. Historically, the theatre had been sold out - indeed in one season more Barn subscription tickets were sold than any subscription-oriented arts institution in the area. The Barn was closed July of 1977, and community support demonstrated the need for a new theater in the community. During the time between the closing of the Barn Theatre and the dedication of Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Macomb Community College presented cultural programs at the student centers of South and Center campuses. These cultural programs included special events, an education series, a Friday night film series, musical productions, summer series, and ethics action workshops.
The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, designed by TMP Associates, Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, opened November 7, 1982. The theater, with 1,271 seats, provides intimacy between performer and patron, and features continental seating and unobstructed viewing. The stage, with an adjustable acoustic orchestra shell, can accommodate everything from a 100-piece orchestra to the biggest opera assemblage or a spotlight on a soloist. Macomb Center is known for its superb acoustics with 4,000 square feet of "acoustic sculpture" on the theatre's rear and side balcony walls reproduced from four designs by noted Troy artist, Glen Michaels. Another special feature of the theatre is that the last row of the balcony is only ninety feet from the stage. Past the foyer, is the art gallery featuring Macomb Community College students and local artists throughout the season.
Stage II, adjoining the concert hall, is home to smaller productions. Stage II seats approximately two hundred and is used for student productions, professional productions, as a reception space and rehearsal hall. The Fine Arts facility attached to the Macomb Center offers music and art studios, lecture and rehearsal halls, voice and piano practice rooms, a photography studio, and classrooms and faculty offices.
Over the years, the list of star entertainment at Macomb Center reads like a Who's Who in the entertainment industry. In the early years Ray Charles, Buddy Rich, Rick Nelson, Glen Campbell, David Copperfield, Pat Boone, and Ben Vereen all made appearances. Then came shows like Tony Bennett, Johnny Cash, Carol Channing, Marcel Marceau, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Rogers, Itzhak Perlman, Bill Cosby, Roger Whittaker, Willie Nelson, Regis Philbin, Howie Mandel, Tom Jones, Wayne Newton, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, Alan King, The Everly Brothers, Anne Murray, Paul Anka, Mitzi Gaynor and Debbie Reynolds. Today the Center welcomes stars like Mandy Patinkin, Jeff Daniels, Kathy Griffin, AirSupply and back for their 25th season, The Irish Rovers. The Center continues to attract the best of world-class artists. Macomb Center currently stands as the cultural centerpiece of Macomb County.