Cleveland Public Theatre Awards 2016-17 Artistic Fellowships to Six Local Theatre Artists

Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT)'s Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan is proud to announce the selection of six Northeast Ohio-based artists for 2016-2017 Season artistic fellowships.

Inside of CPT's commitment to cultivating new voices and providing new work development platforms for both experienced and emerging local artists, the theatre has initiated a series of special programs that focus on the individual artist. Fellowships include mentorship by CPT's Executive Artistic Director and a financial award.

The Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship, a year-long program for emerging playwrights from Northeast Ohio, offers opportunities to develop work through readings, staged readings and workshop productions. Now in its fourth year, the Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellows program is funded by a multi-year grant from the Nord Family Foundation. In 2016-2017, this fellowship is awarded to playwrights and creators alongside participation in Catapult - a CPT new work development initiative. 2016-2017 Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellows are Eric Coble, Melissa Crum, Caitlin Lewins, and CasSandra West.

The Kulas Foundation Theatre Composer Initiative supports the artistic growth and development of composers with extraordinary potential. Fellows compose music and sound design for CPT season productions. The Kulas Theatre Composer Initiative is a nine month fellowship engages composers in a collaborative process under the guidance of the show producer and director to compose and produce original music for at least one full production in CPT's professional season. 2016-2017 Kulas Foundation Theatre Composer Fellows are Eric Gonzalez and Matt Ryals.

About the 2016-2017 Season Fellows

Eric Coble (Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellow) is thrilled to be working with CPT again, where the last collaboration created My Barking Dog. Coble's other plays include The Velocity of Autumn, Stranded On Earth, Fairfield, Margin of Error, and Bright Ideas, and have been produced on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in all fifty states of the U.S. and on several continents, including productions at Manhattan Class Company, The Kennedy Center, Playwrights Horizons, Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Arena Stage, New York and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Cleveland Play House, and The Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Awards include two AATE Distinguished Play Awards for Best Adaptation, an Emmy nomination, the Chorpenning Playwriting Award for Body of Work, the AT&T Onstage Award, National Theatre Conference Playwriting Award, the Cleveland Arts Prize, two Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Fellowships, and four Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Grants. During the fellowship year, Eric will develop his newest play The Family Claxon.

Melissa Therese Crum (Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellow) is Cleveland based performer, director, writer and educator. Crum currently holds a position as a Staff Teaching Artist with Playhouse Square. Recently Crum served as Education Associate at Dobama Theatre, and has been a Teaching Artist with Cleveland Playhouse, Great Lakes Theater, The Musical Theatre Project, and Cleveland Public Theatre's Brick City Program. Melissa completed the 2013-2014 Joan Yellen Horvitz Director Fellowship at Cleveland Public Theatre where she directed The Drowning Girls. Cleveland Stage Credits include 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Airwaves, Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant, The Loush Sister's Do the Nutcracker, Earth Plays, Tender Napalm, and Two Plays by Gao Xingjian (CPT), and Loki and Lucy (Talespinner Children's Theatre). Melissa has directed locally at Dobama Theatre (Peter and the Starcatcher; remount, production by Nathan Motto), Talespinner (The Crocodile, The Cobra, and the Girl Down the Well), True North Cultural Arts (Falling), and CPT (The Drowning Girls, The Waters-A Nord Fellowship Reading, Style is The Answer to Everything-A Nord Fellowship Reading). Crum has also directed and co-created several new works at CPT including: Bags of Air which appeared in Airwaves, Part Three of the Element Cycle, The Natural Order of Things, which appeared in Earth Plays, Part Two of the Element Cycle, and Seppuku (Big Box '10). Melissa studied Directing Devised Theatre and Theatre Creation under the tutelage of Raymond Bobgan, and holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Cleveland State University. During the fellowship year, Melissa will develop (with Caitlin Lewins) a new work, Everything is okay (and other helpful lies.

Eric M. C. Gonzalez (Kulas Theatre Composer Fellow) is a Sound Designer, musician, and composer of music for film, theater, the concert hall, and beyond. Performing in Cleveland as Agleam as well as in bands Forager and GypsyWolf, Eric experiments with synthesizers, acoustic instruments, vocals and interactive platforms. Eric is creator of the comic book REACH, and has written and developed several devised works with Theater Ninjas. Eric is Assistant to the Director of No Exit New Music Ensemble, and Director of the events-based string ensemble Forest City Chambers.

Music and sound design for theater by Eric has been heard in Broken Codes, Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys, The Turing Machine, and more. Film music by Eric can be heard in A Fool's Tango, the Rhode Island NetWorks Project, and The Red End. Eric is a member of Theater Ninjas' Cadre of creative producers. In 2016 Eric received a Creative Workforce Fellowship, a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, supported through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Eric has composed music for No Exit New Music Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Genkin Philharmonic, and more. As a cellist, Eric maintains classical, contemporary, and extended technique performance practices. In 2013, Eric received the Bain Murray Award for Composition from the Department of Music at Cleveland State University.

Caitlin Lewins (Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellow), a Cleveland native, is a performer, writer, director, avid crafter and musician, recently co-directed (with Dan Kilbane) and music directed 44 Plays For 44 Presidents. Caitlin completed the 2013-2014 Joan Yellen Horvitz Director Fellowship that culminated in the production Left in Ink which she conceived, directed and co-created. Recently at CPT, Caitlin line produced four Road to Hope events in the Spring of 2016, line produced The Santaland Diaries at Playhouse Square and the Nord Family Foundation Playwright Reading Series, directed Canon Fodder - a Nord Fellowship Reading, music directed Frankenstein's Wake and assistant directed/contributed to The Loush Sisters Love Dick'ns. Caitlin co-created and directed Edison and Ford which appeared in Air Waves (Part Three of the Elements Cycle) and completed her third year in the Directing/Theatre Creation class. In the 12/13 season, Caitlin was Stage Manager/Assistant Director to Raymond Bobgan for Rusted Heart Broadcast and made her writing/directing debut at CPT with The Environmented in Earth Plays (Part Two of the Elements Cycle). Recent/favorite performances include Red Ash Mosaic (workshop), She's Wearing White..., Air Waves, Earth Plays, Bird Behind the Curtain (Big Box '13), 13 Most American Dreams, Grizzly Mama and The New Century. Caitlin is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, where she studied Theatre, Philosophy and Music. During the fellowship year, Caitlin will develop (with Melissa Crum) a new work, Everything is okay (and other helpful lies.

Matthew Ryals (Kulas Theatre Composer Fellow) is a musician and educator based in Cleveland, OH. Working primarily with electronic instruments, his music often explores a dialogue between systems of electronics and human control and expression. This past summer saw the release of his first full-length album, We Could Make The Ride Better For Everyone, on vinyl and digital formats via his own label, Behind Glass, followed by a 20 date concert tour. Matthew has also been released on the Cologne and Cleveland based label, Low Hanging Fruit. Recent collaborative projects include developing new work and on-stage performances with the contemporary Dance Company, The Movement Project, as well as CSU Dance Company. In January, he performed in Faye Hargate's installation piece, Sharps, as part of Cleveland Public Theatre's Entry Point. As a Kulas Composer Fellow during the 15/16 Season, Matthew wrote an electronic music score for the plays Feefer Rising and Red Ash Mosaic which premiered at CPT. Additionally, his music was featured in two short films from The Fixers series, a collaborative public art project led by Kate Sopko. Matthew teaches guitar at Hawken Lower School in Lyndhurst and Celebrity School of Music in Warrensville Heights. He holds a M.M. in guitar from Cleveland Institute of Music and a B.M. in Instrumental Performance from Arkansas State University.

CasSandra West (Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellow) is a Cuyahoga Falls based writer, director and actor. Born in Connecticut, she made her way to Ohio through a series of surprises and decisions, and is excited to learn about the theater community out here. Cassandra has worked with such companies as East river Commedia, LEIMAY, Turn To Flesh Productions, Easy Leap Theater, and 5th Wall Theatre. Recently, she performed in None Too Fragile Theater's production of Sans Merci, by Johnna Adams. Cassandra has been writing and directing theater since high school. She enjoys dark folk tales, and impossible odds. She studied theater at Gordon College, The National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and The Atlantic Acting School. She served as Artistic Director for Curio City Theater for two years, where she managed the development of new plays in New York City. During the fellowship year, Cassandra will develop her folktale-based play, Mira La Mer.

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