Ensemble and CSF join forces to bring more live theater to the Heights
William Shakespeare is coming to Cleveland Heights . . . well, sort of. The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival (CSF) recently began collaborating with Ensemble Theatre of Cleveland Heights. Both Celeste Cosentino, Ensemble’s artistic director, and Aaron Elersich, production manager at CSF, hope their collaboration will grow to include other organizations and other performing arts, such as music and dance. For the time being, they will share office and rehearsal space, to the mutual benefit of both theater companies.
With mission statements that complement each other, and declining funding for the arts, this collaboration makes sense. Ensemble Theatre strives to produce works that celebrate the human spirit, drawn from the rich canon of modern American classics, as well as other significant contemporary plays.
CSF aims to produce quality theater drawing from the works of William Shakespeare. By performing out of doors at venues throughout Greater Cleveland, CSF reaches audiences that would be less likely to travel to a downtown theater, or may be uncomfortable in a more traditional theater setting. By offering its performances free of charge, CSF brings to those who might not ordinarily afford the price of a ticket the opportunity to connect with actors and the roles they play through contemporary performances of classic plays.
Both companies offer educational outreach programs and joint ventures with other arts groups. Both celebrate the talents of local artists in all aspects of production—actors, directors, set designers and others.
In different ways, Ensemble and CSF make the theater experience accessible to audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds. While Ensemble is generally “dark” (not performing) during the summer, CSF is celebrating its 15th consecutive season of presenting Shakespeare’s plays to audiences in Northeast Ohio.
CSF’s 2012 season began on June 15 with “The Famous Life and History of King Henry the Eighth or All is True,” directed by David Hansen.
“Henry VIII” and “As You Like It,” which opened on June 23 and is directed by Dana Hart, will continue in repertory on Saturdays and Sundays in July, at various locations throughout Northeast Ohio, including Shaker Heights Community Colonnade and the Kulas Stage at Wade Oval in Cleveland.
All shows begin at 7 p.m. Audience members are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets. In case of rain, spaces have been secured for all venues, except Wade Oval. The show will go on—rain or shine.
For more information about the CSF and a schedule for the 2012 season, call 440-794-1274, e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.cleveshakes.org.
Jewel Moulthrop, a Cleveland Heights resident, is a member of the FutureHeights Board of Directors and a frequest contributor to the Heights Observer.