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Karamu House gets ready for new chapter in rich Cleveland history



Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Karamu Home has expanded its attain by means of digital productions however is already planning its post-pandemic return.

CLEVELAND — Cleveland’s Karamu Home is the nation’s oldest African American producing theater, however within the midst of the pandemic, they’re welcoming new alternatives.

“We now are reaching so many individuals with our message of giving data,” Karamu Home President and CEO Tony Sias stated. “We wish to entertain, educate, rejoice and activate the neighborhood.”

RELATED: 13 methods to rejoice Black Historical past Month in Northeast Ohio

As Karamu not too long ago made the shift from in-person to on-line productions, Mr. Sias says he welcomes these new digital alternatives.

“Over the previous 12 months, since we have been streaming, there was a shift,” he stated. You understand I am an old style theater man so transferring into the digital house I’ve to higher perceive you recognize my function and relationship with the digital camera, that I need not look into the stage I have to be wanting right into a monitor.”


Sias says that within the final 12 months, Karamu Home has additionally been in a position to present alternatives for younger artists to contribute to their physique of labor.

“We have been in a position to attain hundreds of individuals within the digital house. We did a chunk honoring Juneteenth known as ‘Freedom on Junteenth’ and our purpose was to achieve 10,000 households and we exceeded that, reaching 50,000 folks.” 


The pandemic-led shift into digital content material has allowed Karamu to current in ways in which had been beforehand not possible and this 12 months’s Black Historical past Month manufacturing is not any totally different.

“Right here at Karamu Home we rejoice Black Historical past Month each month and what’s been distinctive about this 12 months’s Black Historical past Month celebration is that we partnered with The Musical Theater Undertaking presenting a chunk known as ‘The Impression of Shuffle Alongside’,” Sias defined. “It was filmed right here at Karamu Home in February of 2019. We had been initially supposed to breed and mount the present right here this 12 months however in fact, we will not try this, so we’re re-airing that manufacturing.”

However digital content material is not the end-all-be-all. Karamu’s post-pandemic plans are already underway.

RELATED: Watch once more: ‘Freedom After Juneteenth’ voter consciousness occasion, that includes Karamu efficiency & panel dialogue

“Over the past a number of years we have been doing phases of renovation, and a part of our section three renovation is an outside stage. Having that as an choice goes to be ultimate as we proceed to get vaccinated and the vaccine getting in additional arms, so we sit up for having an outside stage for the neighborhood to expertise and see new works and concert events right here at Karamu Home and as Karamu continues its over 100-year legacy.”

Mr. Sias seems towards the affect he needs to make on the subsequent 100 years.

“Legacy is is a tough factor to outline however one of many issues that is been most essential to me is that I depart the establishment higher than I discovered it,” Sias stated. “And that would come with having a sound monetary endowment to make sure a long-term sustainability of the establishment and that we’ve created a physique of labor that has not solely entertained audiences however has triggered social consciousness and consciousness to make constructive steps in the direction of change.”

Editor’s be aware: the video within the participant under is from a narrative revealed in Feb. of 2019: 






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