Cleveland Public Theatre Education

Celebrating the Artist in All of Us

Education is a core aspect of Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission. Throughout our history we have offered unique education programs that celebrate the artist within all of us.

Based on CPT’s guiding education principles of Empowerment, Equity, Excellence, and Enthusiasm, CPT’s Teaching Artists work to build close, long-term relationships with students, families, and community partners. This facilitates trust and open exchange among our participants, Teaching Artists, and CPT, leading to a supportive, reciprocal learning environment that fosters powerful and life-affirming art experiences.

Education experts are learning more and more about how the arts play a vital role in personal development. Arts programs have been linked to marked increases in academic and job-related skills, positive social behavior, and greater health and happiness. Studies consistently point out that arts programs are most effective when they engage students in “Out of School Time” in small-class settings with long-term experiences that culminate in completed projects. CPT’s education programs are conceived on these best practices, and the results have been impressive. We are proud to be a leader in the arts and education community, offering powerful, meaningful experiences for adults and children.

CPT education programs follow four guiding principles that reflect our pedagogical, political, and aesthetic approach to education and are deeply interrelated:


Every program participant is considered an artist and is involved in the creative process. Together we create original works of theatre, and the participants contribute to the words spoken, the movement, and the production elements. This approach engages participants deeply, resulting in pride and ownership of the final product.


CPT education programs focus on groups of people who are often excluded from art-making. We believe the artistic community and the community as a whole is richer when the multiplicity of Cleveland’s cultures and identities is represented and celebrated.


We develop close, reciprocal, enduring relationships with our partners, students, and families, demonstrating to the community that we are trustworthy and consistent. Long-term relationships facilitate open exchange between our participants, Teaching Artists, and CPT staff so we ALL may learn and benefit from each other’s perspectives, life experiences, aesthetic, and artistry.


We believe art can change lives and that everyone is an artist! We approach the artistic process with dynamic openness and intentional rigor, creating an enthusiastic learning environment that supports and nurtures creative expression while expecting a high degree of discipline and focus. We encourage our students’ creativity, and we also challenge them.

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Core Programs

Brick City Theatre In partnership with Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Brick City Theatre offers year-round afterschool and intensive summer arts programming for youth ages 5-14 and family members who reside in public housing. For information about Brick City Theatre please contact Faye Hargate, Director of Community Ensembles, at 216.631.2727 x 207 or

Cleveland Act Now An intensive performing arts program onsite at CPT for young artists from Cleveland and surrounding neighborhoods, now in its pilot phase thanks to the Cleveland Foundation’s new mastery-based arts initiative. For information about Cleveland Act Now please contact Faye Hargate, Director of Community Ensembles, at 216.631.2727 x 207 or

Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP) A rigorous arts-based program that provides hands-on job training, engaging Cleveland youth from families defined as low-income in a powerful learning experience that develops job skills, academic achievement, and interpersonal skills. For information about the Student Theatre Enrichment Program please contact Adam Seeholzer, Education Manager, at 216.631.2727 x 219 or

Y-Haven Theatre Project A program for residents of Y-Haven, a transitional housing facility for formerly homeless men in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and mental health challenges. The program teaches performing arts and technical aspects of theatre while addressing critical personal, interpersonal, and job-related skills. For information about the Y-Haven Theatre Project please contact Adam Seeholzer, Education Manager, at 216.631.2727 x 219 or 

Global Teen Performance Project An afterschool rehearsal process at Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy for students ages 14-19, emphasizing technique and mastery of the craft of theatre. This program is a collaboration between Cleveland Public Theatre and Global Cleveland. For information about the Global Teen Performance Project please contact Adam Seeholzer, Education Manager, at 216.631.2727 x 219 or


VanAllen, Amanda. “Local performers act out stories of personal struggle on stage in community play.” News 5 Cleveland, 11 November 2017. Click here to watch and read:

Wise, Carrie. “Y-Haven Theatre Project Brings Recovery to Stage at Cleveland Public Theatre.” WVIZ/PBS ideastream, 30 October 2017. Click here to watch and read:

Benson, John. “Cleveland Public Theatre’s Y-Haven Theatre Project this year will be ‘Golden’.” The News-Herald, The News-Herald, 30 October 2017. Click here to read: 

“Brick City Theatre 10.13.2017.” We The People. WKYC-TV. Oct 13 2017. Click here to watch:

Ryan, Lisa. “Theater Program Teaches Cleveland Teens Skills For Life.” The Sound of Applause. 90.3FM/WCPN Cleveland, OH. 17 August 2017. Click here to read or listen:

Kramer, Gabriel. “Cleveland Public Theatre’s STEP Program for Urban Teens.” WVIZ/PBS ideastream, 10 August 2017. Click here to watch

Simakis, Andrea. “Cleveland Public Theatre’s STEP program teens explore power of art in ‘And Yet, We Shine’.” The Plain Dealer, 6 August 2017. Web. Click here to read:

Benson, John. “Cleveland Public Theatre’s STEP Class Presents “And Yet, We Shine” Across the City.” CoolCleveland, 22 July 2017. Web. Click here to read:

Smedley, Chealsia. “A New Ohio City Mural Paints a Community of Togetherness.” Cleveland Magazine. Cleveland Magazine, 9 February 2017. Web. Click here to read:

Dissell, Rachel. “‘Kings and queens’ of Lakeview Terrace reflected on mural wall that for decades has divided residents from Ohio City (photos, videos).” The Plain Dealer, 13 November 2016. Web. Click here to read:

Dissell, Rachel. “Two Brick City alums reflect on how the theatre program helped shape their futures.” The Plain Dealer, 13 November 2016. Web. Click here to read:

Goodman, Vivian. “For 22 Years, Cleveland Public Theatre Has Helped Teens Find Their Voice.” State of the Arts. 89.7FM/WKSU Kent, OH. 25 August 2016. Click here to read or listen:

Litt, Steven. “Cleveland Foundation launches arts initiative for children in need with $500k grant to Cleveland Public Theatre.” The Plain Dealer, 1 April 2016. Web. Click here to read:

Barnett, David C. “Cleveland Kids Get to Tell Their Stories Through Theatre.” Here and Now. 90.9FM/WBUR Boston. 15 June 2015. Click here to listen:

Barnett, David C. “Brick City Theatre.” Sound of Applause. 90.3FM/WCPN Cleveland, OH. 26 May 2015. Click here to listen:

DeMarco, Laura. “Parade the Circle Spotlight: Cleveland Public Theatre helps CMHA kids take stage.” The Plain Dealer, 11 June 2015. Web. Click here to read:

Azab, Sherrine. “Youth Ensemble Project: Cleveland Public Theatre’s Brick City Theatre Youth Ensemble at Station Hope.” Network of Ensemble Theaters. 19 May 2014. Web. Click here to read:




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