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Cleveland Public Theatre's Raymond Bobgan Recognized for Arts Leadership

Bold, avant-garde theater with deep community connections first attracted Raymond Bobgan to Cleveland Public Theatre, and those areas still excite him more than 20 years later.

He has been leading CPT in Gordon Square for that past 11 years, and its work focuses on innovative and socially-conscious theater and education programs.

Bobgan is set to receive the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio next Wednesday for his work as an “individual who has shown sustained, impactful, and visionary leadership of an arts organization.”

Some of that work includes fostering development of new plays, working with youth in public housing and creating Teatro Publico, a local Latin-American theatre ensemble.

“We just opened our doors and began to share our techniques, our skills with [the Latin-American] community, and slowly over time a company formed,” Bobgan said.

Teatro Publico has since put on four, original productions at CPT, and three of them were in Spanish. Bobgan said he’d like to continue similar outreach efforts with the local Arab-American community.  

CPT produced its first play about an Arab-American, “I Call My Brothers,” in February. 

When asked what he thinks the community needs right now in the arts, Bobgan said a focus on artists themselves is important.

“There is a kind of thing in the United States where we… love art, but we’re a little skeptical of artists themselves,” he said. “It’s really important for us to acknowledge the levels of excellence but also really nurturing and connecting those artists into communities to do their best work there.”

Hear an interview with Raymond Bobgan in the video player above and on Here and Now featuring the Sound of Applause Friday at 1:33 p.m. 

*Photos in the video and above courtesy of Cleveland Public Theatre, Steve Wagner and Alejandro Rivera*

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