Cleveland Public Theatre Presents National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere BR'ER COTTON

Cleveland Public Theatre Presents National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere BR'ER COTTON

Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) is proud to present the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Br'er Cotton, a poetic and timely new play by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, directed by Jennifer L. Nelson. Br'er Cotton is onstage March 29 - April 21, in CPT's historic Gordon Square Theatre.

The first weekend of preview performances, March 29 - 31, is presented FREE to the public. Reserve tickets by phone, 216-631-2727 x501, or online,, using code FIRST.

According to CPT's Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan, "We begin the run of Br'er Cotton, a crucial and timely story, with a weekend of free preview performances. The goal is to open the doors up wide. This important piece will spark dialogue about racial identity in America, systemic racism, repercussions of slavery, and other incredibly hard to talk about pieces of our existence here in the U.S. Br'er Cotton is also a deeply moving and magical play about generations of people with very different perspectives. How do we navigate our unique experience, what we've been taught and what we think we know, and how do we listen inside a polarized and divisive environment?"

About the Play

Lynchburg, Virginia. The former site of a thriving cotton mill is now an impoverished neighborhood. Deeply affected by recent killings of young black men like himself, Ruffrino, a 14-year-old "militant," incites riots at school and online. More and more at odds with his mother and grandfather, the boy's anger grows beyond containment while the family home literally sinks into the cotton field and no one seems to notice but him.

In partnership with the National New Play Network (NNPN), Br'er Cotton is produced at Cleveland Public Theatre as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Other partnering theatres are Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas, TX) and Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble (Los Angeles, CA). For more information, please visit

About National New Play Network

The National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country's alliance of nonprofit theatres that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. NNPN strives to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theatres collaborate to support new plays and playwrights. For more information about NNPN, visit

About NNPN Rolling World Premieres

NNPN's flagship initiative, the Rolling World Premiere Program, supports three or more theatres that choose to mount the same new play within a 12-month period. The result is an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, in which a playwright develops a new work with multiple creative teams in at least three different communities. The playwright is part of the process, working on the script and making adjustments based on what is learned from each production. To learn more, visit:

Cast and Crew of Br'er Cotton

The cast is Sara Bogomolny, Joshua McElroy, Peter Lawson Jones,* Beau Reinker, and Samantha V. Richards. (*Actor appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.)

Br'er Cotton was written by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, and is directed by Jennifer L. Nelson. The production team is Raymond Bobgan (Producer); Beth Wood (Line Producer); Andrew Aaron Valdez (Assistant Director); Elizabeth Cammett (Stage Manager); Inda Blatch-Geib (Costume Designer); Wes Calkin (Scenic Designer); Benjamin Gantose (Lighting Designer); James Kosmatka (Sound Designer); T. Paul Lowry (Video Designer); Ryan T. Patterson (FX Advisor).

Ticket & Show Information

Br'er Cotton (March 29 - April 21, 2018) previews March 29, 30, 31, and April 5 (no show 2). Press Night is Friday, April 6 and the show runs through Saturday, April 21. Performances are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights at 7:30pm in CPT's Gordon Square Theatre, located at 6415 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102, in the heart of the Gordon Square Arts District.

Tickets are $12-30. Students/Seniors receive $3 off on Friday and Saturday nights. All Thursdays and Mondays are $12.

PURCHASE TICKETS at or call the CPT Box Office at (216) 631-2727 x501. Group discounts are available - call the Box Office to inquire. (Reserve early! - CPT never charges any ticket fees, ever.)

The first weekend of preview performances, March 29 - 31, is presented FREE to the public. Reserve tickets by phone or online using code FIRST.

The Gordon Square Theatre is ADA compliant featuring a ramped entrance and an all gender, wheelchair accessible restroom.

Every Friday is Free Beer Friday at CPT. Mingle with the artists after the show and discuss the performance in a lively, social atmosphere - your drinks are on CPT.

Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm (PLAYWRIGHT) Tearrance's play Br'er Cotton is in the middle of its American Rolling World Premiere through the National New Play Network, with productions at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, Lower Depth Ensemble in Los Angeles, and Cleveland Public Theatre. Additionally, Br'er Cotton will be making its UK debut at Theatre 503 in London. Tearrance recently participated in the Magic Theatre's Virgin Play Festival with a workshop presentation of his newest play, PYG. Previous productions: Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies at Mosaic Theater in D.C. (Helen Hayes Nomination: Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical), Br'er Cotton (The Catholic University of America), Bhavi the Avenger (Convergence Theatre), In Sweet Remembrance (Endstation Theatre Company), and A Month of Sundays (Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival). He has developed new works with Signature Theatre, Theater J, Theatre Alliance, and The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and has held residencies at The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and The Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. He was a finalist for the Inaugural Relentless Award and the Theatre 503 Playwriting Award. Tearrance received two of the 2016 National KCACTF awards, the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. Tearrance was a part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Rep with his play Anacostia Street Lions. He developed the play Black Lady Authority under the auspices of the Sundance Theatre Lab. Tearrance holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Catholic University of America. He is currently in the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Julliard, is a Sundance Institute and Time Warner Foundation Fellow, and a 2050 Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop.

Jennifer L. Nelson (DIRECTOR) Jennifer L. Nelson is a Washington DC-based theatre professional who has dedicated her artistic life to representing human dignity, justice, and good humor. She has been an actor, director, playwright, administrator, and professor. Her professional career began with the Living Stage Theatre at Arena Stage. Following that, she served as Producing Artistic Director of the African Continuum Theatre Company. Her play Torn from the Headlines was awarded a Helen Hayes Award for Most Outstanding New Play. In addition to directing at many professional theatres, she has taught and directed at several universities including University of Maryland, Georgetown University, American University, George Washington University, George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth. Her most recent productions were The Gospel at Colonus for Avant Bard Theatre; and Milk Like Sugar for Mosaic Theater Company where she is now an Associate Artist. She is currently Artistic and Legacy Project Advisor at Ford's Theatre. She is proud to have served as President of the League of Washington Theatres and on the Board of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG).

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