Mission and Artistic Statement

Mission Statement

STEPCleveland Public Theatre’s mission is to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performances and life-changing educational programs.

CPT develops new, adventurous work; and nurtures Northeastern Ohio artists — particularly those whose work is inventive, intelligent, and socially conscious.

CPT’s acclaimed education programs engage underserved communities in devising new works that speak to contemporary issues, and empower participants to work for positive change in our community.


IDENTITY: We have the urge to define ourselves in specific terms, to assert who we are as individuals—internally and in a social context. We ask the classic, “Who am I?” and the world around us provides us with ever more specific language with which to define ourselves, what we are and where we fit. IDENTIFY: We yearn to empathetically connect with others, to step outside of our own experiences, to truly understand and appreciate diverse perspectives—and we hope that others might come to identify with us.

IDENTITY/IDENTIFY: Two seemingly disparate impulses are at the core of theatre and its impact on us as people; a conflict that moves us forward rather than stopping us, a drum beat or a breath, a life force that drives us into ever more interesting territory, to seek something beyond what we have known, to experience new things, even let ourselves be changed.

The IDENTITY/IDENTIFY dynamic twists through our entire season of work, beginning with the heart-rending White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour, a young Iranian man reaching to connect through the pages of the script, held in the hands of an ever-shifting cast of players. It emerges as a group of apocalypse survivors seek to rebuild society in a post-electric landscape…one Simpsons episode at a time (Mr. Burns – a post-electric play); and as two women argue over race, class and which of their children deserves a better education (Lines in the Dust). IDENTITY/IDENTIFY underpins Aaron Davidman’s thoughtful and deeply personal exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Wrestling Jerusalem; it weaves through a dreamlike journey between worlds in Blue Sand Dreaming, a distinctly American story inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead. IDENTITY/ IDENTIFY shapes one woman’s struggle to reconcile desires, fantasies and taboos with innocence and personal safety (Feefer Rising); and another’s dreams of a past creator and his monstrous mistakes (Frankenstein’s Wake). And throughout the season, we’ll produce world premiere works from Teatro Publico de Cleveland, a bigger-than-ever Station Hope celebration and season-round education programs that can awaken new perspectives on the world and inspire our hearts.

With this focus on IDENTITY/IDENTIFY, you mustn’t fear we’ve lost our sense of humor. In fact, the holidays will celebrate the return of Holly and Jolly Loush (The Loush Sisters Love Dick’ns: Great Expectations) in a bawdy, martini-soaked and totally inappropriate remix of a certain holiday classic, proving that this upcoming season isn’t just about the big, probing…penetrating…uh…ahem. Never mind.

You come to CPT because you expect the extraordinary. You expect something unique that will leave you somehow changed. You anticipate a reconnection with a force and dynamism that can energize your life. You may desire a greater understanding of that audience member across from you. You may even seek a reawakening to your own identity. We are in a time when the dynamics, or tensions (depending on your perspective) of human relations are ever-shifting. But theatre, and art, thrives on conflict; we welcome and embrace the heat, even friction, of our time—that it might spark ideas, insight and, above all, creation.

Raymond Raymond's Signature

PS. On the subject of social media, don’t be alarmed—we aren’t luddites. You can always amplify your experience by connecting with us. In fact, we have great stories to share, insider info, spoilers, and candid glimpses of our process. And we invite to you share with us about your experience.