Cleveland Public Theatre (2018)

Cleveland Public Theatre (2018)

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As the theater field moved through widespread organizational shift, with new leaders coming into their ranks, many theaters, especially those that offered diverse programming, were eager to use the opportunity to diversify their staff. A 2017 article by John Moore in American Theatre magazine, “American Theatre’s Leadership Vacuum: Who Will Fill It?,” mentioned 20 artistic director vacancies at large theaters across the country, and Teresa Eyring, the executive director of Theatre Communications Group, was quoted in the article as saying, “There is absolutely a responsibility to recruit with a special eye toward identifying talent among women, people of color, trans people, and others who have been underrepresented at the highest levels of the American theatre.”

Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT), a mid-size alternative theater located in Cleveland, Ohio, was one of the theaters making diversity a priority. Raymond Bobgan, the executive artistic director of CPT, had successfully launched a Latinx resident ensemble in 2013 called Teatro Público de Cleveland, and in the spring of 2018, he was preparing to launch another. Masrah Cleveland Al-Arabi, an Arabic-speaking resident ensemble was gearing up to begin and Bobgan saw his staff becoming stretched. He decided that the solution was to combine a vacant entry-level new play development position with a new position to oversee one of the community ensembles. The role would be elevated to a senior staff level, and the theater was particularly interested in hiring an artist of color to the job. But a several-months-long search had failed, and in August, Bobgan was back to square one.

With expanding artistic programming expanding and high ambitions, Bobgan had to decide if the company’s finances, capacity, and location could attract the type of candidate he believed the company needed.

Publication Date: 2019-05-15

Keywords: Cleveland, Leadership, Culturally Specific Organization, Small Organization

Suggested Citation: Markie Gray, "Cleveland Public Theatre (2018)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case 18-93, May 15, 2019

Teaching Notes: Yes (please contact yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu)

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This case is from the Theater Management Knowledge Base, a body of arts management material created by Yale School of Drama Theater Management students and faculty, overseen by an editorial board of leading practitioners. For more information or for help in selecting cases suitable for your educational or organizational purposes, please email yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu.