July 29, 2021 - August 07, 2021

Times and locations vary, see below.


Cleveland Public Theatre’s celebrated Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP) is Cleveland’s longest-running arts and job training program for teens. STEP returns to outdoor venues this summer, celebrating its comeback to in-person performances with an original play, Song of Sankofa.

After a relocation from her idyllic homeland and the death of a loved one, Jetta, a once free-spirited teenage girl, embarks on a journey through the natural world to recapture the magic of her fading childhood. Led by her childhood companion and a reluctant spiritual guide, Jetta learns the connection between youth and the natural world is deeper and more mystical than even she imagined.

Song of Sankofa showcases the ensemble work of eight young artists who are currently navigating the balance between the worlds of childhood and adulthood. Join us to experience this unique piece of free outdoor theatre!

Producer Raymond Bobgan
Education Director Nicole Sumlin
Director John Dayo-Aliya, 2020/2021 Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellow
Melissa Crum 
Assistant Director, Fight Choreographer, & Teaching Artist  Avery LaMar Pope
Education Associate, Stage Manager, & Teaching Artist Allyse Corbin
Tech Team Leader Garrett Markgraf
Costume Designer Inda Blatch-Geib
Assistant Costume Designer & Craftsperson  Dred Geib
Dance Instructor Kenya Woods
Wardrobe Supervisor Brielle McGowan

Performance Ensemble: Paris Burrell, Kyondalyss Cruz, Yousif Elberri, Taylor Mahone, Jaiyah Pryor, Janiely Santiago, Easton Sumlin, Alija Toles
Tech Team: Jade Gantt, Shamere George, Rylee Horowitz, Michael Toles, Jr.

Very special thanks to Councilpersons: Jenny Spencer, Blaine A. Griffin, Kevin Conwell, Anthony Brancatelli, Kerry McCormack, Delores L. Gray, Charles Slife

Made possible through the generous support of: Cleveland City Council and the Mayor’s Office of Prevention, Intervention, and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; Brewer-Garrett; Cleveland Foundation; George W. Codrington Foundation; Cuyahoga Arts & Culture; Dollar Bank Foundation; First Federal Lakewood; Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation; George Gund Foundation; Martha Holden Jennings Foundation; David & Inez Myers Foundation; Holly & David Neumann; Ohio Arts Council; PNC Bank; Kelvin & Eleanor Smith Foundation; Third Federal Savings & Loan; William M. Weiss Foundation

Special thanks to these Community Partners:
Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation; Broadway Public Art; Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc.; City of Cleveland Department of Community Development; Cleveland Metropolitan School District; Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority; Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization; Ohio City Inc.; Slavic Village Development; Tremont West Development Corporation

What is STEP?

CPT’s Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP) is a rigorous arts-based program that provides hands-on job training, engaging Cleveland youth from families defined as low-income in a powerful learning experience that develops job skills, academic achievement, and interpersonal skills. As part of this eight-week summer program, youth, ages 14-19, work together to create, produce, perform, and tour their own play. This program is the longest-running arts-based, workplace development program in Cleveland and is an international model for engaging youth. Since its beginning in 1994, STEP has received multiple awards and recognitions including those from the City of Cleveland, The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Through STEP, teens see themselves as a positive and inspirational force, and watch as their work has an impact on the larger Cleveland community.

Thank you to our Partner Organizations: LAND studio and Youth Opportunities Unlimited

                                                    LAND studio         Youth Opportunities Unlimited

STEP is generously Funded by