A Historic Black Theatre Regains Shine

Cleveland’s Karamu Performing Arts Theatre is America’s oldest African-American theatre. In the late 90s it fell on hard times. “Audiences were dwindling, critics stopped attending, and actors were shunning auditions. The theatre that helped nurture the careers of such playwrights as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Lorraine Hansberry and actors like Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Robert Guillaume, and Anthony Chisholm was on the verge of closing its doors.” Enter Terrence Spivey, who in four years has brought life back to Karamu – on an annual budget of $300,000.