Arts and Culture Incubator Fuels Projects Beyond the Playhouse
The Playhouse’s Mainstage Theatre Complex, featuring Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre, opens its doors to the public this March. With a brand new stage and new facility features that enhance the work we produce, the Mainstage Theatre Complex also enables us to deepen our roots with the community and our artistic and cultural peers in innovative ways. The Playhouse’s new program, the Arts and Culture Incubator, aims to achieve that by providing resources in our new facility to a selected group of local artists and organizations.
Beginning this spring, nine organizations that serve the region through artistic and cultural work have the opportunity to utilize the Mainstage Theatre Complex to continue and build upon existing projects. Likewise, the Resident Artists program, which is part of the Arts and Culture Incubator, supports two, Cincinnati-based theatre artists in the same way. Program partners include:
- Theatre artist Derek J. Snow
- Theatre artist Curtis D. Shepard
- Cincinnati Music Accelerator
- Cincinnati Pride
- DuWaup’s Cincinnati Poetry Slam
- Elevated Aerials
- Urban Native Collective
- Heroes Rise Street Dance Academy
- Queen City Flash
- Science on Tap
- Young Professionals Choral Collective of Cincinnati
Members of the Arts and Culture Incubator will gain access to Playhouse facility spaces for classes, rehearsals, creative work, networking and collaboration with their peers. They can also utilize spaces for public and private events. Additionally, the Playhouse will provide professional development services that meet their needs.
Says the Playhouse’s Osborn Family Producing Artistic Director Blake Robison, “Theatre is inherently a collaborative art form — no play makes it to the stage without the talents of a production team and a company that affords them resources. We recognize that we can provide this same kind of collaborative energy for our artistic and cultural peers. It’s a privilege for us to share our new facility and its resources so that they can continue and deepen their work. Ultimately, our entire community benefits from their talents.”
Developing the Arts and Culture Incubator
Playhouse Director of Artistic Engagement Daunielle Rasmussen has been working closely with Robison to develop the Arts and Culture Incubator since the pandemic. While having many conversations about the future of Playhouse programming during that time, they decided to engage local artists and organizations to understand their needs and consider how the Playhouse can support them.
“We heard a lot of the same thing: Artists in Cincinnati need space, professional development, equipment and visibility. We recognized that our name has weight, and just by backing a partner that we’ve worked with previously on shows and projects, it opened doors for them to pursue other partnerships that hadn't been available to them,” says Rasmussen.
Each of the Arts and Culture Incubator partners has worked with the Playhouse or with Playhouse partners in some way: through stage productions, community engagement events, or Off the Grid and educational programming. Both of the Resident Artists were selected as part of The Breath Project in 2021, a national artistic initiative with whom the Playhouse partnered.
“We believe in building relationships, seeing where they organically grow and determining with the partners what they need to go to the next level of their work,” says Rasmussen. “This program is designed for growth and the continuation of work already being done on a larger scale rather than germinating and launching new initiatives and companies.”
“Partnerships like these keep Cincinnati’s arts community rich with talent and collaboration,” says Robison. “Many times, artists and individuals have a lot of passion for what they do but they find themselves doing it alone or without enough resources. That can often be solved by simply having connections to like-minded people or being able to access a space that’s specifically designed for creative use. The Playhouse can do that for them, and we welcome them to consider our new facility as an artistic home.”
Meet the 2023-24 Resident Artists of the Arts and Culture Incubator
Curtis D. Shepard
Curtis has kept busy touring his two, one-man shows, UnMasked and Sidewaze Rain. In 2021, actors from across the country pulled together to participate in his staged reading, Get Off Of Me, performed at the Pacific Northwest Multi-Cultural Readers Series & Film Festival. He was a finalist in the 2021 Breath Project with his production, Ronnie and Vince. Recently, Curtis co-starred in the stage play Trapped, which premiered at the Indianapolis Fringe Festival in August 2022.
Derek J. Snow
Derek created the nonprofit Missing Front Plate Productions in 2020 to address the lack of BIPOC work in theatres nationwide. He was the inaugural recipient of The Breath Project's New Play Commission for 2021. His two-act play, Silas, The Uninvited, will be performed in New York City; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Detroit later this year. As a director, his most recent efforts have been: Intimate Apparel at Mariemont Players, Inc.; Fannie Lou: Speak on It! at Know Theatre; Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at Falcon Theatre; and Fabulation, Or The Re-Education of Undine at Footlighters, Inc.
Meet the Organizations of the Arts and Culture Incubator
Cincinnati Music Accelerator
Cincinnati Music Accelerator (CMA) is Ohio’s first music career accelerator organization, focused on making Cincinnati a music city through job placement and education. Through programs such as: the Street Stage Project (SSP), the Mobile Stage trailer, CMA Music Studio and Music Business Academy, CMA gives support to Cincinnati’s growing music community.
DuWaup’s Cincinnati Poetry Slam
Urban Native Collective
Heroes Rise Street Dance Academy
Queen City Flash
Queen City Flash is Director Bridget Leak and Playwright/Composer Trey Tatum. They are committed to:
- Creating new plays — critically acclaimed original works, emboldened by experiments with form, augmented with original music and deepened by collaborations with neighbors and partners.
- Money in people’s pockets, not on the walls — where a minimum of 51 percent of the budget goes to paying local artists, not sustaining venues or overhead.
- Open access — creating experiences that an entire family can afford, enjoyed in transformed and relaxed environments.
Queen City Flash: Bold Stories, Irreverently Told.
Science on Tap
Young Professionals Choral Collective of Cincinnati
The Arts and Culture Incubator partners have worked with the Playhouse or with Playhouse partners in some way. If you’re interested in being a part of the Arts and Culture Incubator in a future season, please contact Daunielle Rasmussen at Daunielle.Rasmussen@cincyplay.com to find out ways you can partner with us.