Groundbreakings–Ups and Downs in Cleveland Theatre

This has been a week filled with some very mixed emotions for most of the Cleveland theatre community. By now most of us have heard about the Beck Center’s plea for $150,000 in additional funding. You can read Tony Brown’s complete Plain Dealer article on his blog here. A letter sent out by Beck Center President Cindy Einhouse asks individuals and companies that can make even a small donation to please do so. The institution is one of the largest in the area, hosting art galleries, a dance studio, a slew of classes in theatre and art, and two theatre spaces boasting some of the most eclectic shows in the region. Artistic Director Scott Spence has always done a great job of putting together a season filled with appealing classics, large scale musicals, and cutting edge dramas. This would not be the first time that the Beck would close down, but for the sake of the theatre community and the area in general we would hope that closure can be prevented this time. For more information on the Beck Center you can visit www.beckcenter.org. You can make a donation directly to the Beck Center right now by clicking here.

On a much different note, it’s nice to see some local theatres getting some positive recognition. Cleveland Public Theatre’s Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan is getting honored by American Theatre magazine as one of the top 25 theatre artists who will shape American theatre over the next 25 years. Again, you can read Tony Brown’s complete article here. In addition to providing Cleveland with some of the most interesting theatre around, Raymond’s other projects include trips to Turkey to work with local theatre artists to create work that engages teens.

Raymond Bobgan

And last, but most certainly not least, on Tuesday night Dobama theatre held a small but exciting groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the construction of their new theatre space. The new theatre will be housed within the Heights Arts building, across from the library on Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights. The ceremony is monumental in that this project has literally been in the works for over a decade. I remember working at Dobama as a young actor and listening to former artistic director Joyce Casey’s plans for a new space. The new theatre will actually be constructed over an abandoned swimming pool, and will include plans for flexible seating, a lighting grid, sound booth, dressing rooms, a set construction shop, costume and props storage, and a green room with small kitchen area. Construction actually started last week-a good portion of the interior framework was already laid out for the ceremony. The new space should be complete in fall of this year. For more information about Dobama, visit their website at www.dobama.org.

Managing Director Dianne Boduszek
Managing Director Dianne Boduszek

Breaking ground at Dobama's new theatre space
Breaking ground at Dobama's new theatre space

Touring the future set construction shop
Touring the future set construction shop

Despite the financial worries of the Beck Center, it’s nice to see that local theatres and artists are still triumphing in this time of economic hardship. If you’re able to send even a small donation to any of these organizations, your money will be helping keep the arts alive in our local communities!

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