What Does It Mean to Be a Public Theater?

In this podcast, we explore what it means to be a public theater. Guest host John Shibley talks with Raymond Bobgan of the Cleveland Public Theatre, which has recently celebrated a successful dramatic production featuring and created with members of the local Latino community. Now calling themselves Teatro Publico de Cleveland, this assembly of Latino cast members includes Blanca Salva, who also joins our discussion of how projects like this one can attract, and retain, the participation of untapped cultural communities. They explore what it means to engage new communities through artistic collaboration.

This podcast is part of a series that profiles the work of participants in EmcArts‘s Engaging the Future program in Cleveland. Learn more.


RaymondBobgan copyRaymond Bobgan, Executive Artistic Director of the Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT), has helmed the productions of 15 world premieres at CPT (9 by local artists), expanding its programs to support new work and achieving unprecedented national coverage. Bobgan specializes in creating new work through an ensemble process. He was the founding Artistic Director of Wishhounds (aka Theatre Labyrinth) and has directed and collaboratively conceived and created more than twenty new theatrical works. In 1994, he initiated the Student Theatre Enrichment Program, a job training program that engages at-risk youth in writing, producing and performing new plays. Bobgan was recently recognized by American Theatre Magazine as 1 of 25 national theatre artists that will shape the next 25 years of American theatre. Bobgan has been affiliated with CPT for over 20 years.

BlancaSalvaBlanca Iris Garcia Rivera Salva lives in the Stockyard neighborhood on Cleveland’s west side. She is the Executive Assistant for Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone of Ward 15, and a board member for Neighborhood Family Practice and Lutheran Hospital Community Board. She is on the advisory committee of the Teatro Publico de Cleveland and recently enjoyed her premiere theatrical appearance in their debut, Cuando Cierras Your Eyes. Married, with two daughters and a granddaughter, Salva was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and moved to Cleveland in 1988.



John is a lead facilitator for EmcArts' Innovation Lab programs. John also leads EmcArts' effort to integrate systems thinking into community planning for adaptive change in the arts. He has more than 25 years of experience leading complex organizational improvement efforts in a variety of industries and settings.