CLEVELAND: Karamu House and Dobama Theatre have announced a formal partnership that will begin with the 2016-17 season. The companies will share facilities and personnel resources, offer joint ticket programs, and present coproductions.
“This partnership exemplifies true collaboration,” said Tony Sias, Karamu president and CEO, in a statement. “We’re sharing resources and working together to remove barriers to make theatre more accessible for the masses. We are thrilled to work closely with Dobama as one of Cleveland’s professional theatre companies that produce first-rate productions of cutting-edge new plays.”
The statement of purpose for the partnership is as follows:
The Karamu/ Dobama partnership is a collaborative initiative between two historic theatre institutions to enrich our theatre making, bring people in our city together, and strengthen our community. Through shared resources, joint programming, artistic collaboration, civic engagement, and the creation of space for conversation, the Karamu/ Dobama partnership will be a catalyst for community, enhance the art we create, and allow us to more fully and immediately respond to the challenges we face in the world today.
Beginning this season, Dobama will lease a rehearsal room, storage space, and a break room at Karamu House. There will also be an artists exchange. This season, Karamu House production manager Richard H. Morris Jr will design the set for Dobama’s production of An Octoroon, while Dobama’s scenic designer, Ben Needham, will create the set for Karamu’s production of Rasheeda Speaking.
There is also a ticketing initiative. Karamu patrons will receive a $10 discount to Dobama productions, by presenting a recent Karamu ticket stub, and inversely, Dobama members can present their membership card at Karamu for the same discount. The new Theatre-for-All Initiative will also make pay-as-you-can rush tickets available five minutes before performances at both theatres.
The institutions are also launching a new joint program called Theatre Artists for Social Changes. During the season, artists and administrators from both theatres will collaborate with the community to mount organized artistic responses to current news events.
Other aspects of the partnership will be coproductions of mainstage shows at both theatres, and joint sponsorship of public forums about social issues that will be open to local citizens.
“We could not be more excited about the collaboration, community building, and art making that will be made possible by this important partnership,” said Nathan Motta, Dobama artistic director, in a statement. “Karamu is an iconic institution both in our city and nationally, and Dobama is honored to be a part of a bright, thriving future in ‘The House.’”