The Journey of Teatro Publico de Cleveland

The journey of Teatro Publico de Cleveland (TPC) is about generosity, learning, trust and the desire to connect in spite of challenges.

It has not always been easy, but it has been incredibly gratifying. The question has been about cultures coming together—the multicultural panorama of the Hispanic/Latino community and the cultures implicit in the performing arts. Many people have talked about the benefits TPC has offered the Latino community: a source of pride, a strengthening of a wider sense of Latino identity, the passing on of culture, and the sharing of culture with the wider community, and so much more. Few have talked about the potential impact on the theater culture of Cleveland.

“Teatro Publico de Cleveland is a portal, a viewing glass, a front row seat into the world, languages, customs of many Latinos that live right in the Cleveland area who want others to understand that when we speak our language, celebrate our holidays, follow our homeland traditions, we don’t do it to separate us from others or because we are refusing to acclimate to the USA ways, but rather to unite in peace and show appreciation for the gifts we all bring to the communities we call home.” 

– Blanca Salva

Audience members at TPC performance.
Audience members at TPC performance.

For me, Teatro Publico de Cleveland has made a big impact. TPC really has become an integral part of the Cleveland Public Theater season. They’re regular audience members, attendees, collaborators and friends of the theater. We’ve been really thrilled with the turnout. I am seeing other theaters in town, emboldened in welcoming wider and more diverse casts. We have become a connector for other arts organizations to the Latino community, locally and beyond. And TPC has fundamentally altered the future of CPT because it has touched the artists who have engaged with this project, myself included.

Teatro Publico is an ensemble of actors and creators with a broad range of experience, from amateur to professionally trained artists. Photo by Alejandro Rivera.

“Teatro Publico 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 and TPC ensemble member

The number one thing I have experienced over and over again is a kind of welcoming. As we opened the doors of the theater, the community opened its doors to us. When we created workshops, the community created stories. When we turned on the lights, it was the actors that shined most bright. As CPT found support for the program, time and time again the members of TPC have supported us, as allies and as fellow creators. As one member said, “we are in this together so we have to have each other’s back.” And this has been our experience, not just with the members of TPC but also with the wider community.

Ensemble members from Teatro Publico de Cleveland’s “A Recipe Para La Vida;” photo by Steve Wagner.
Raymond Bobgan is Executive Artistic Director of the Cleveland Public Theatre & Director/Co-Creator of ¡CELEBRANDO THREE YEARS!