Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission is to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performances and life-changing education 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 communities in devising new works that speak to contemporary issues, and empower participants to work for positive change in our community.
2018/2019 Artistic STATEMENT
There is an opportunity here. There is an obligation now. I am not sure which is which.
This moment. Right now. I am writing or you are reading. This is a moment in time and the world moves around us. We can be half-aware. We can be lost in the moment—focused on the page or internally distracted. As I write, I am fixated on my hands and a screen. Perhaps you are also half-thinking of something else, or skimming to see if there is something of value. As I write, I am distracted by fear and hope, considering your rejection or approval. But I know there is another option. I can open.
I can be more aware. I can keep writing and open my vision to 180 degrees and listen. I can live in this moment. Theatre, this living and local art, inherently grapples with being here and now. See, listen, and be. This is a kind of inspiration.
Yet in this moment, we are not free. Our days are filled with injustice. Lies, history, and systems hold people down, literally and figuratively. The ideals of social justice and racial equity do not sufficiently illuminate the way to make needed change. Theatre was created to foster dialogue and seek right action, right society.
Compassion and consciousness—sometimes I am not sure which is which, but I know this is the mission of Cleveland Public Theatre. I know this is what calls me, and the staff, board, and artists of CPT.
Exploring contemporary issues and confronting questions of the self, this season is particularly pointed. We look to both these callings with intensity, joy, humility, fear, and a sense of humor. Maybe we will find these two obligations, these two opportunities, are one and inextricable. They need each other. When we turn inward and away from the world, we lose touch. And when we exclusively face outward in our fight for justice, we lose our connection to ourselves and become blind to our immediate moment. This cycle goes on and it can be vicious or virtuous.
Theatre calls us to investigate, to interrogate, to invade the here and now.
Here and now? Already I have lost the thread of attention. I pick it up again and remember theatre is a messy form. Every performance has a flaw (a proof of liveness). We are not perfect. We are learning and you are with us and we are together. You, the audience, may sit in the darkness but you focus on the light and your attention brings meaning to it all. You complete the circle. You make the moment real. You are here and now, in this moment. You look up. You consider. You wonder. Expectations rise.
Here and now.
Raymond Bobgan, Executive Artistic Director