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Tony F. Sias and Craig Hassall. (Photo by Lewis Burrell.)

Karamu House Named Affiliate Company of Playhouse Square

The historically Black theatre will retain its home in Cleveland’s Fairfax District.

CLEVELAND: Playhouse Square has announced that Karamu House will be its first affiliate company. The designation is for professional arts organizations in Northeast Ohio that have a relationship with Playhouse Square.

“I’m so pleased we’ve established our affiliate company designation with the venerable Karamu House,” Playhouse Square president and CEO Craig Hassall said in a statement. “This gives both organizations the opportunity to explore a deeper creative partnership. Our goal is to introduce Playhouse Square audiences who may not be familiar with Karamu House to their work, and, in turn, to introduce their audiences who may not have been here before to Playhouse Square.”

The resource-sharing initiative does not involve the relocation of Karamu House. Eight organizations which hold their events at Playhouse Square will retain the status of resident companies.

“It is truly an honor for Karamu House to be Playhouse Square’s first affiliate company,” Karamu House president and CEO Tony F. Sias said in a statement. “As the oldest Black producing theatre in the nation, this alliance provides many opportunities for Karamu to expand our audience, share resources, and have an ongoing presence at the acclaimed Playhouse Square, as we continue to produce theatre and events at our home in the historic Fairfax District.”

Recognized as the oldest Black performing arts institute in the nation, Karamu House is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is a beating heart for the Cleveland community. Karamu House produces theatre, comedy, jazz, and spoken word performances and offers arts education programming for all ages. As of 2021, the theatre had a budget of approximately $2.8 million.

Playhouse Square is a nonprofit performing arts center and a champion of arts education. It is the proud home of the Cleveland Ballet, Cleveland International Film Festival, Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University Department of Theatre and Dance, DANCECleveland, Great Lakes Theater, and Tri-C JazzFest, among other programs. As of 2022, Playhouse Square had a budget of approximately $65.5 million.

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