A short documentary created by ArtsFwd
In 2013 Cleveland Public Theatre launched Teatro Público de Cleveland, a local Latino theatre company.
The purpose of this new theatre ensemble is to share the rich diversity and perspectives of the Latino-Cleveland culture to fulfill CPT’s core mission: to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through ground breaking performance and life-changing educational programs.
Led by award-winning, nationally-acclaimed director Raymond Bobgan, Teatro Público de Cleveland plays have a marked quality. Teatro Público productions are developed through CPT’s unique play creation and ensemble building techniques, which give voice to the participants’ stories, dreams and creativity, and result in a strong sense of ownership of the culminating performance. These play creation techniques have been developed over years of work with professional actors, adults in recovery, youth and community groups. Teatro Público is managed by Faye Hargate and company member Dante Fernando Larzabal, who directed Mi Muñequita.
MOMENTUM & SUCCESS
Teatro Público’s premiere show Cuando Cierras Your Eyes and A Recipe para la Vida exceeded expectations with:
- Sold out performances – and added shows, totaling over 2,000 attendees.
- Audience development – A majority of audience members were first-time theatre goers.
- Community response – Teatro Público’s productions were acclaimed by audiences and community leaders have praised the work as filling an important need in the community.
- Lasting engagement – The 32 member performance ensemble has quickly embedded itself in the CPT arts community, regularly attending theatre arts events and participating in community meetings.
Teatro Público’s shorter works, Vuelo del Ocean and A Dream of Estrella del Norte, were featured at CPT’s annual event, Pandemonium, and Station Hope, a neighborhood arts project, serving 3,500 audience members.
In March of 2015, Teatro Público produced the US Premiere of Mi Muñequita by Gabriel Calderón. This was the first all-Spanish language production and played to sold out houses, totaling 500 audience members.
“Our community came out and we loved it. Sharing together and connecting to the wider community was amazing. Everyone was looking around saying—wow, I can’t believe this hasn’t happened before!”
-Blanca Salva, founding member of Teatro Público and Executive Assistant for Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone of Ward 15
Teatro Público is an ensemble of actors and creators with a broad range of experience, from amateur to professionally trained artists. A majority of members can trace heritage to Puerto Rico, and there is representation from other countries of origin: Mexico, Uruguay, Guatemala, Peru and Colombia, and diverse educational and economic backgrounds. Plays are performed in a mixture of Spanish and English.
“Teatro Público is helping us to forge a Cleveland Latino identity. Its impact goes well beyond the walls of the theatre to support community change and growth, socially and economically.”
-Jason Estremera, President, Young Latino Network
In the creative process, participants engage in storytelling workshops expressing their stories, family memories and legends from native countries. Through this authentic collaboration, CPT artists and community members create an original play. The impact on the ensemble of artists has been immense.
“It changed my personality. It’s a very big freedom for me and takes me out of my normal element. I really feel like [Teatro Público] is part of who I am now.”
-Letitia Lopez, founding member and non-profit executive director of Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Centers
“When the Uruguayan economy collapsed, I came to the US. I felt totally excluded from the arts community. I thought I could never be an artist here. When I came to Teatro Público I felt like I was eighteen again, and I realized I can contribute as an artist in this country!”
-Dante Larzabal, founding member and landscaper who moved to Cleveland in 2006
COMMITMENT & FUTURE
Teatro Público de Cleveland is a core program of CPT, born from a significant investment of Cleveland Public Theatre and support from the Cleveland Foundation’s Engaging the Future Program. Teatro Público de Cleveland is an integral part of CPT’s 2014-2015 season, which includes three major ensemble projects and the creation and premiere of A Recipe para la Vida in October 2014. The ensemble demonstrates commitment with ongoing training and rehearsals.
“I’m blessed to be in [Teatro Público]. I never thought in a million years I’d actually do something this big. We are just scratching the surface. Hopefully, this is something that will continue for years.”
-Alejandro Rivera, founding member and local photographer
For more information about Teatro Público de Cleveland: