Digging Up Dessa

Written by Laura Schellhardt

Directed by Emily Levickas

May 12, 13*, 19, 20 at 7 p.m. and May 14** & 21 at 2 p.m.

School matinees on May 16 & 17*/** at 10 a.m.

*Accessible, **Sensory Friendly
Suggested for ages 10+

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For Dessa, life brim with treasures waiting to be uncovered and mysteries to be solved. Though she is distinctly a 21st century girl, Dessa develops a mysterious connection to the pioneering 19th century English paleontologist, Mary Anning, whose gender and lack of formal education resulted in her discoveries being buried by history. Determined to deliver to her friend the credit she deserves, Dessa digs in her heels, bringing Anning's secrets into the light. In doing so, she paves the way for her own bright future.

Produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois. Digging Up Dessa was first commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was first produced at the Kennedy Center during the 2017-2018 season.


  • Ticket prices for Digging Up Dessa are $18 regular admission, $14 for Seniors (60+), $12 for students & MAINSTAGE patrons, and $7 for Youth ages 6-12.. Tickets are available in person at the Judy Sturgis Hill Ticket Office, by phone at 734.487.2282, and online at https://emich.ludus.com. Please note that there is an additional per ticket surcharge for tickets purchased with a credit card.
  • There is no free parking on EMU's Main campus. Paid parking is available in the Alexander Guest Lot, Ford Commuter & Staff Lots and at meters. Those with an EMU parking permit may park accordingly.
      • The Alexander Lot is $2 per hour, patrons will pull a ticket on entry; to exit scan the same ticket and use a credit card to process payment.
      • The Ford Lots use “Text to Park/Snap to Park” options, either texting a number or scanning a QR code. Patrons pay by credit card before attending the event, license plate number is required. Signage with instructions are located in the parking lot and the theatre lobby.
      • Additional paid parking can be found at meters on campus.
  • Directions: Entering 1030 East Circle Drive, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 into Google Maps will bring you to the front of the Judy Sturgis Hill Bldg., just past the parking lots. There is a circle driveway for those patrons who need to be dropped off before a driver parks. The building houses the Legacy, Sponberg and Frank Ross Lab Theatre.
  • In adherence with Covid protocol, everyone attending an EMU Theatre event will be encouraged to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when community levels of COVID are elevated. We strongly encourage Covid vaccinations and/or testing before attending this or any public event. If you are not feeling well or are exhibiting any Covid symptoms, we ask that you not attend the performance. Refunds and exchanges will be available if you are unable to attend.