Cleveland Public Theatre founder James Levin to head new project

(Plain Press, July 2004) After 20 years at Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT), Founder and Executive Director James Levin has announced that he will step down to pursue new career options and to head the new Arcadia Project, a comprehensive capital campaign to raise funds to realize his vision of the organization's campus and provide for the theatre's financial stability. Randy Rollison, currently Artistic Director of CPT, will assume the leadership of the organization under the title of Producing Artistic Director.

States Levin: "CPT is now over twenty years old. It has evolved and grown into a significant vital being of which I am very proud, but it is time for it to take flight. And, it is time for me to review some of my life goals and explore some other possibilities. One such possibility, of course, is the creation of a CPT arts campus here on the Near West Side. After years of discussing it, I have decided to focus more attention on making this happen."

Levin founded CPT in 1983 and led the theatre as Artistic Director until 2002, when he became Executive Director. During the 20 years of the organization's existence, Levin's vision and entrepreneurial daring established CPT as a leading cultural organization and a key component in the development of Cleveland 's Near West Side. CPT is now the largest of Cleveland 's mid-size theatres with an annual budget of $1,000,000, and it produces and presents theatre and dance in its two venues, the Upstairs Theatre and the historic Gordon Square Theatre.

The Arcadia Project, CPT's comprehensive capital campaign, will take place over four years, from June 2004 to September 2008, in four phases. The campaign will focus on strengthening the theatre's financial stability and realize the vision for CPT's campus, which includes renovating the current theatres and three neighboring buildings. The church space, parish hall, and living quarters of the oldest Romanian Orthodox Church in the country are located 50 feet east of the Gordon Square Theatre. CPT plans to use the church and hall as performance venues, and the residence hall for artist living space.

Levin will continue to lead the Y-Haven Project, an original collaborative work written and performed by the residents of Y-Haven, a comprehensive transitional housing program designed to serve formerly homeless men who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. He will also participate in producing new work in BIG [BOX], CPT's series of new work in January 2005.

The Arcadia Project takes its name from Arcadia , a region in Greece tucked away by mountains and the seas, protected from the ebb and flow of invasions and power changes. Romanticized by classical literature and poetry, Arcadia emerged poetically as a place of great creativity, mystery and magic. Comments Levin, "I hope that the Arts Campus evolves into a similar kind of place on the Near West Side."


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