Cleveland State University’s Factory Theatre is so often booked that students have to schedule rehearsals late at night. While department chair Michael Mauldin bemoans his program’s outdated facilities, he realizes that it’s a good problem to have.
Before Mauldin was hired in 2006 to breathe new life into the moribund Dramatic Arts Program, the school had only 21 majors. Campus officials had even considered canceling it. Today,CSU’s theatre program boasts 85 majors — and counting.
“We’re poised to become a destination theatre program in the coming years,” Mauldin predicts. “That’s not hubris — there’s some very solid work being produced here.”
Mauldin is especially excited about CSU’s imminent move to the three new stages at the newly renovated and expanded Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. When the theatre opens in September, CSU will share it with Cleveland Play House, which is relocating from its long-standing home near the Cleveland Clinic.
“Currently, we only have one performance stage in an old textile factory,” explains Mauldin. “We’re moving to a 500-seat, state-of-the-art theatre inside the Allen, a 290-seat flex space and a 150-seat black box theatre. It’s a dream of a space.”
Mauldin also lauded the renovation of the Middough Building on East 13th Street, which will feature classrooms, studios and rehearsal halls. “Instead of stepping over each other, we can have concurrent activities going on,” he says.
Although CSU’s program is already strong (Mauldin reports that 95 percent of its graduates are either working or attending graduate school in the field) it will only get better by being part of PlayhouseSquare.
“We’re part of the city, whose theatrical life is so vibrant,” he says. “There’s so much promise and potential to live up to.”
Fresh Water Cleveland, 6/17/11