Cleveland Public Theatre Education

Celebrating the Artist in All of Us

Education is a core aspect of Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission. We believe art can change lives and that everyone is an artist! Throughout our history, we have offered unique education programs that celebrate the artist within all of us.

Based on CPT’s guiding education principles of Empowerment, Equity, Excellence, and Enthusiasm, CPT’s Teaching Artists work to build close, long-term relationships with participants, families, and community partners by facilitating trust and open exchange. Our education programming seeks to create, for participants and teachers alike, a reciprocal collaborative learning environment that supports awareness and fosters powerful and life-affirming art experiences.

Studies consistently find that arts programs are most effective when they engage students in “Out of School Time” in small-class settings with long-term experiences that culminate in completed projects. CPT’s education programs were conceived on these best practices, and the results are impressive. We are proud to be a leader in the arts and education community, offering powerful, meaningful experiences for adults and children.

CPT education programs follow four guiding principles that reflect our pedagogical, political, and aesthetic approach to education, and are deeply interrelated:


Together we create original works of theatre and our participants contribute to the spoken words, the movement, and the production elements. This layered approach engages participants dynamically, resulting in pride and ownership of the final product.


We strive to bridge the gap between the heard and the unheard by centering rarely shared stories with a wider audience. Our work brings awareness to issues such as racial and economic justice, nurturing relationships that cross the invisible boundaries of race and class. We believe representation matters, and we are committed to engaging Teaching Artists who are representative of the communities with whom we collaborate.


We encourage the development of the whole artist, nurturing an artist’s personal, interpersonal, and artistic growth. This environment of self-mastery calls participants to own their greatness with pride, be accountable to their peers, and be engaged, curious, and connected to their community.


We approach the artistic process with openness, rigor, intention, and joy! Our programs cultivate an enthusiastic learning environment that supports creative expression while nurturing a high degree of discipline and focus. We encourage our participants’ creativity, and we also challenge them.

Core Education Programs

Cleveland Act Now (CAN) Year-round theatre arts programming for young artists ages 5-14. CMHA CAN (formerly Brick City Theatre) takes place in partnership with Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) at community centers for youth and families who live in public housing. CAN also partners with local community centers. CAN Academy is a free theatre training program at Cleveland Public Theatre for youth from Cleveland and surrounding neighborhoods. For more information about CAN, please contact Faye Hargate, Director of Community Ensembles / Interim Manager Cleveland Act Now, at or 216.631.2727 ext. 207.

Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP) A rigorous arts-based program that provides hands-on job training and engages Cleveland teens in a powerful learning experience that develops job skills, academic achievement, and interpersonal skills. As part of this eight-week summer program, 30 youth, ages 14-19, work together to create, produce, perform, and tour their own play. For information about the Student Theatre Enrichment Program please contact India Nicole Burton, STEP Program Director, at 216.631.2727 ext. 201 or

Y-Haven Theatre Project A theatre program for residents of Y-Haven, a transitional housing facility for formerly homeless men in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and mental health challenges. Participants learn performance and technical theatre skills to create an original play based on their life experiences, affirming their recovery and raising awareness around addiction and homelessness. For information about the Y-Haven Theatre Project please contact Raymond Bobgan, Executive Artistic Director, at 216.631.2727 ext. 202 or


“Adam Seeholzer, Lexy Lattimore & Siwita Ali Shah – Cleveland Public Theatre’s STEP Program 7.23.18.” Live on Lakeside. WKYC-TV. July 23 2018. Click here to watch:

VanAllen, Amanda. “Local performers act out stories of personal struggle on stage in community play.” News 5 Cleveland, 11 November 2017. Click here to watch and read:

Wise, Carrie. “Y-Haven Theatre Project Brings Recovery to Stage at Cleveland Public Theatre.” WVIZ/PBS ideastream, 30 October 2017. Click here to watch and read:

Benson, John. “Cleveland Public Theatre’s Y-Haven Theatre Project this year will be ‘Golden’.” The News-Herald, The News-Herald, 30 October 2017. Click here to read: 

“Brick City Theatre 10.13.2017.” We The People. WKYC-TV. Oct 13 2017. Click here to watch:

Ryan, Lisa. “Theater Program Teaches Cleveland Teens Skills For Life.” The Sound of Applause. 90.3FM/WCPN Cleveland, OH. 17 August 2017. Click here to read or listen:

Kramer, Gabriel. “Cleveland Public Theatre’s STEP Program for Urban Teens.” WVIZ/PBS ideastream, 10 August 2017. Click here to watch

Simakis, Andrea. “Cleveland Public Theatre’s STEP program teens explore power of art in ‘And Yet, We Shine’.” The Plain Dealer, 6 August 2017. Web. Click here to read:

Benson, John. “Cleveland Public Theatre’s STEP Class Presents “And Yet, We Shine” Across the City.” CoolCleveland, 22 July 2017. Web. Click here to read:

Smedley, Chealsia. “A New Ohio City Mural Paints a Community of Togetherness.” Cleveland Magazine. Cleveland Magazine, 9 February 2017. Web. Click here to read:

Dissell, Rachel. “‘Kings and queens’ of Lakeview Terrace reflected on mural wall that for decades has divided residents from Ohio City (photos, videos).” The Plain Dealer, 13 November 2016. Web. Click here to read:

Dissell, Rachel. “Two Brick City alums reflect on how the theatre program helped shape their futures.” The Plain Dealer, 13 November 2016. Web. Click here to read:

Goodman, Vivian. “For 22 Years, Cleveland Public Theatre Has Helped Teens Find Their Voice.” State of the Arts. 89.7FM/WKSU Kent, OH. 25 August 2016. Click here to read or listen:

Litt, Steven. “Cleveland Foundation launches arts initiative for children in need with $500k grant to Cleveland Public Theatre.” The Plain Dealer, 1 April 2016. Web. Click here to read:

Barnett, David C. “Cleveland Kids Get to Tell Their Stories Through Theatre.” Here and Now. 90.9FM/WBUR Boston. 15 June 2015. Click here to listen:

Barnett, David C. “Brick City Theatre.” Sound of Applause. 90.3FM/WCPN Cleveland, OH. 26 May 2015. Click here to listen:

DeMarco, Laura. “Parade the Circle Spotlight: Cleveland Public Theatre helps CMHA kids take stage.” The Plain Dealer, 11 June 2015. Web. Click here to read:

Azab, Sherrine. “Youth Ensemble Project: Cleveland Public Theatre’s Brick City Theatre Youth Ensemble at Station Hope.” Network of Ensemble Theaters. 19 May 2014. Web. Click here to read:




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