Just got off the phone with Celeste Cosentino, who is Executive Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre and has served in nearly every capacity ever since her mother, Lucia Colombi, founded the company in the 1980s. Productions in the theater’s 96-seat main stage and 65-seat black box performance space draw from the canon of modern American classics as well as other significant contemporary plays.
Ensemble shuttered its doors going into the second week of Diane Samuels’ Kindertransport. “We are in the business of people gathering and were among the first to close,” she notes, “and theater will probably be the last business to open” when this pandemic is over.
In the meantime, Celeste has been working with the Cleveland Hts. city council to put together an Arts Council to help coordinate recovery efforts for all the local non-profit arts organizations. She believes that her theater’s small size and non-profit mission should expedite recovery if limited gatherings are part of the nation’s strategy going forward.
Looking ahead, Ensemble is planning a 2020-2021 line up to include Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, Charles Smith’s Objects in the Mirror as well as the Cleveland premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night. “We also hope to schedule shows that we’ve cancelled for this season that people have been looking forward to,” adds Celeste, including the musical Fun Home and, perhaps, a staged reading of Kindertransport.
“This, of course, is subject to change given all the many, many unknowns.”
And it’s pretty much these unknowns that keep every theater guessing at this point.
Production photo: Craig Joseph and Kimberly L. Brown in Ensemble Theatre’s 2020 production of Intimate Apparel
Photo / Shawn Christopher
About the Author