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Culture Forward Blog

Showing blog posts written by Christopher Johnston

Artists and Audiences Gain from Diverse Theater Scene

Karamu House; "Rasheeda Speaking"

Cross-pollination among artists is always beneficial for everyone involved, including the spectators who experience the final results. Within the theater, Terrence Spivey, artistic director at Shore Cultural Centre and former artistic director at Karamu House, the oldest African-American theater in the US, knows the immeasurable value of collaboration.

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Categories: collaboration, Race, research, Theater | comments

The Therapeutic Value of Theater

In the same way a play can profoundly influence audience members, leave them emotionally moved or even drained, it can have a powerful effect on a person struggling with personal or emotional challenges, addiction or even serious community issues. That’s why drama or theater projects are often used therapeutically, and Cleveland has a number of programs that are designed to help different populations, including people with drug and alcohol addictions, HIV/AIDS patients, and even women serving time in prison.

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Categories: Artists, artsandhealth, Cleveland, Education, research, Storytelling, Theater | comments

Theater Artists Are Comfortable in the Halls of Higher Education

For Christopher Bohan, visiting assistant professor of theater at Case Western Reserve University, teaching at the college level changed his life and his acting career.

“I really had no intention of teaching,” he recalls of his first decade in theater. “I just wanted to be a professional actor.” When he decided to pursue his MFA in his early 30s, he chose The Hillberry Theatre program at Wayne State University in Detroit, because it was strictly performance-based with no adjunct teaching requirements. 

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Categories: Artists, Education, employment, research, Theater | comments

Everyone Wins When You Know Your Audience

As an expert in arts and culture marketing, John Elliot looks at theater in Cleveland or any city with a global and generational perspective. For a number of years, the head of Elliot Marketing Group in Pittsburgh oversaw a collaborative marketing database among Cleveland area arts organizations. Today, he continues to conduct research on the Cleveland market area as well as in other cities nationally.

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Categories: audience, Economy, management, marketing, research, Theater | comments

Good to Have a Theater in the Neighborhood

Theaters make great neighbors, especially in commercial districts where you want anchor attractions to draw visitors into restaurants, coffee shops, bars and retail establishments before and after their shows. Cleveland Heights boasts three major theater venues that provide well-attended destinations in the Cedar-Lee and Coventry neighborhoods.

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Categories: Cleveland Heights, collaboration, community, Neighborhoods, Theater | comments

Let's Get Technical

Although she received an acting scholarship to Carnegie-Mellon University, Inda Blatch-Geib realized pretty quickly that her heart and her future weren’t in wearing greasepaint, but applying it to others. Her success in her makeup classes revealed an enjoyment of the technical end of theater and led to her exploring prosthetic makeup design, costuming and set design. She transferred to Akron University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in theatrical design and literature, and her graduate degree in design.

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Categories: collaboration, Design, technology, Theater | comments

To Join the Union or Not: That is the Question

Local author and playwright, Christopher Johnston expands on findings from CPAC's latest economic impact study, Staging Cleveland:

For Marc Moritz, the decision to join the Actors’ Equity Association (aka, Equity) union was a no-brainer. He’d been acting since he was six and was three years into his theater studies at Kent State University, when he decided it was time to just go pro.

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Categories: Artists, Economy, Jobs, research, Storytelling, Theater | comments

TV and Radio Are Allies for the Theater Industry

Local author and playwright, Christopher Johnston expands on findings from CPAC's latest economic impact study, Staging Cleveland:

As soon as you hear Leilani Barrett’s rich baritone voice, you know that he was destined to be a Shakespearian actor and do commercial work on the side. Many Cleveland theater actors such as Barrett also work in film, television and commercials for TV or radio or corporate use to increase their income...

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Categories: Artists, Economy, Storytelling, Theater | comments

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