Thu 1/17-Sat 1/19
Lovers of art, music and theater for the longest time have often been left out in the cold when it comes to the creative process. That’s pretty much changed over the last few decades with filmmakers adding commentary to DVD releases, documentary films exposing artistic genius and classic bands releasing massive box sets featuring dozens of rough cuts and demos of iconic albums.
Considering the public’s growing interest to peek behind the curtain, Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) created a unique new works festival that not only allows theater lovers inside of the creative process but also picks their brains along the way.
The innovative “Entry Point,” which takes place Thu 1/17-Sat 1/19 around the CPT campus, provides Northeast Ohio artists the opportunity to develop their work in the early stages of creation with public performances. In total, theatergoers are invited to take in 13 brand-new works-in-progress spread across four stages and featuring more than 90 artists.
“‘Entry Point’ is unique in that it’s taking projects that are at the beginning stages of their work,” said CPT Artistic Associate Molly Andrews-Hinders, who is also the “Entry Point” line producer.
“These are really nascent pieces, and it serves a really important platform because oftentimes people will have ideas and works that they want to bring to life, but they don’t really know how to jump from the brainstorming idea to a workshop production or full production.”
At the 2018 “Entry Point,” Andrews-Hinders was one of those artists seeking input about a new project, which this year is receiving a full workshop production during CPT’s spring series “Test Flight.”
What makes the inventive “Entry Point” a success is the symbiotic relationship between the artist community and theatergoers.
“We have several ways that audience and fellow artists can give their feedback,” Andrews-Hinders said. “One is through giving feedback directly following the performance. We also have forms that people can fill out on their own time either the night of or post performance.
“Also, we send out a survey to everyone who came to ‘Entry Point,’ so if they had more that they’re mulling over after the performance they can send those thoughts to us and we can communicate that to the artist.”
While on the surface “Entry Point” may seem targeted to only theater snobs, Andrews-Hinders said the opposite is true.
“If we can pull people in who maybe don’t have a theater background or don’t really consider themselves an artist, their feedback is as important and valuable as somebody who is a seasoned theatergoer,” Andrews-Hinders said.
For those folks who may need prompting — or liquid courage — to speak their mind, Andrews-Hinders noted “Entry Level” boasts a cash bar in the Storefront Studio Lounge that is the epicenter of activity during the festival.
“They can stop in, get a drink and touch base with other people who have seen different works,” Andrews-Hinders said. “It’s a cool spot for organic feedback, as well as recommendations of what productions to check out.”