New Study Reports Economic Drama on Local Theater Stages

Scene from Cleveland Public Theater's "I Call My Brothers" (Carrie Wise / ideastream)
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Our region's theaters are known for the drama they feature on stage, but the new study, Staging Cleveland, suggests those actors, playwrights and designers are having a dramatic impact on the local economy. 

The recent Cleveland Public Theater production "I Call My Brothers" is one of dozens that are regularly running on 63 stages across Cuyahoga County.  That ranges from the Broadway touring packages at Playhouse Square, to the more experimental offerings of Convergence-Continuum.  The Cleveland-based non-profit Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) decided to examine the economic impact of all this theatrical activity.  The Partnership's Thomas Schorgl calls it significant.

“There are 5,000 full-time employees in the sector,” he says.  “The output was $903-million annually, and that breaks down in terms of local and state and federal taxes to about $68-million.”  

Schorgl adds that it's also unusual for a city the size of Cleveland to be the home of two resident companies --- the Cleveland Play House and Great Lakes Theater Festival.  The Staging Cleveland study notes that the multiple local stages are fed by the theater programs at three area universities.  The report is CPAC's third collaboration with Cleveland State’s Levin College of Urban Affairs, measuring the impact that the area's arts and cultural community has on the regional economy.


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