Below is a press release recently received form Mamaí Theatre Company. As a local arts writer, patron, performer, and lover of people who are so willing to share their creative gifts with the community, I was saddened to hear about the suspension of operations for Mamaí.
Congratulations are due to Executive Artistic Director Bernadette Clemens and Co-Artistic Director Christine McBurney for their vision and passion over the past years. Kudos are also due to the scores of volunteers, actors, crew, Board members and staff who’ve given Cleveland another facet of theater to enjoy and discover. Here’s hoping that, like the phoenix, you will rise up again. Well done, all. Your work has been appreciated.
An Update from Mamaí to the Community
Mamaí Suspends Operations
Mamaí Theatre Company has announced that it is suspending all operations indefinitely as of December 31, 2017 while it investigates new avenues of sustainability. The company values the many partners and patrons who have contributed to Mamaí’s success, but the company’s operations have grown past the capacity of the current staffing model. Board president David Schiopota notes, “Despite numerous accolades and significant investment from many within the Cleveland theatre community, Mamaí Theatre leadership has struggled to find an administrative solution that can sustain the long-term health of the company. Even with a resoundingly successful debut at Playhouse Square this year, building an artistic company of this caliber is an enormous effort.”
Executive Artistic Director Bernadette Clemens acknowledges the impact of this news on artists and audiences who have witnessed the company’s rapid growth. Speaking of the company’s accomplishments, Clemens notes: “Each year, Mamaí’s grant funding doubled, tripled or quadrupled in total dollars. We saw a balanced budget that grew on average over 40% per year. Our budget in our 5th season was over 400% of our inaugural budget. To me, that says that the women who co-founded Mamaí, the people who led Mamaí, and the community that backed Mamaí’s mission, have something to say. It is something critical, and it was heard. People are still listening.”
Co-Artistic Director Christine McBurney adds, “It has been a dream to fill a neglected niche by providing intelligent, relevant, classical theatre to this community and beyond, with plays that we wanted to see in Cleveland, told by Cleveland artists — women’s stories from the classical canon, written by the world’s master playwrights.”
Mamaí leadership remains avidly engaged in exploring opportunities to ensure a legacy for the organization and its mission. Thank you to the 7,000 community members who came to our programming in Mamaí’s five-year history. Thank you to more than 100 artists and technicians who have worked with Mamaí and brought their skill to Northeast Ohio stages in plays uniquely produced by Mamaí. Thank you to partner organizations who collaborated in Mamaí’s success. Thank you to the public and private granting entities which have supported intelligent, relevant classical theatre and equal opportunity for women in professional theatre in Northeast Ohio.