Blank Canvas Theatre is dedicated to inspiring a new love for those new to theatre in the Cleveland community, while providing another quality venue for those who already love the arts. Our annual season is diverse, designed to attract many different types of theatre-goers – whether you prefer American classics, new works, off-beat musicals, drama, or comedy, you’ll find something to enjoy at Blank Canvas Theatre. We always include at least one show chosen to appeal to new audience members – folks who do not think of themselves as “theatre lovers” and may be seeing a live performance for the first time – and we also feature performances of The Laughter League sketch comedy troupe as part of each season. It’s our goal to interest people in different types of performances, encouraging them to break out of their entertainment boxes! Blank Canvas Theatre is also honored and happy to provide a supportive, fun, and professional environment in which actors, designers and technicians can work together to create a positive experience for themselves and our audience.
Blank Canvas Theatre – it’s Theatre for the People!
Patrick Ciamacco, our Artistic Director, founded Blank Canvas Theatre in November, 2011, realizing his lifelong dream of opening and operating a new and different theatrical venue for the Cleveland community. Patrick is also the founder of The Laughter League, a sketch comedy group that has performed at various venues throughout the Cleveland area, most frequently at the former Brooks Theatre of the Cleveland Play House. With the sale of the Cleveland Play House facility looming, The Laughter League was in search of a new performance space in 2011. Existing theatre companies did not have the space or capacity to host several Laughter League shows a year, yet the constraints of writing and rehearsing new material for each show did not allow for enough performances to support leasing a dedicated performance space. When Patrick toured the 78th Street Studios building, he recognized the opportunity to kill three artistic birds with one stone: open a new theatre company, provide a new home for The Laughter League, and bring a live performance venue to this exciting and eclectic location that was already host to an wide variety of artists, designers and craftsmen.
We acquired keys to our space on November 1, 2011 and began auditions for our first season just a few weeks later. As we began rehearsals for our very first show, there was much more to do than just design and prepare that production! The space at that time was far from performance-ready -- it was nothing more than an empty room with potential, a blank canvas in and of itself. Our goal was to create an intimate space allowing for our audience to feel part of the show, while working around permanent support beams. Below is an image of the original space and of one of our first renderings, from the same angle, of what our space could potentially be.
Our inaugural season began in January, 2012 with sold out performances of the Ohio Premiere of The Texas Chainsaw Musical! and closed in December of that year with sold out performances of the Cleveland Premiere of Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical. Between these amazing box office hits were some challenging works of theatre including Of Mice and Men, and Next Fall. These productions caught the eye of local audiences and critics alike, putting Blank Canvas Theatre on the map as one of Cleveland's hottest new professional theaters. In Blank Canvas Theatre's inaugural season it received many nominations and awards from local critics such as: Ground Breaking New Theater (Cleveland Critics Award), Best New Theater (Scene Magazine), Best Dramatic Production for Of Mice and Men (Times Tribute Award), with our production of The Texas Chainsaw Musical! named one of the Top 10 Productions of 2012 (Cleveland Plain Dealer). It was an amazing inaugural season that sparked a second and third season, bringing in many more awards and more sold out houses. We are now in our fourth season here at Blank canvas Theatre, and hope to continue bringing affordable, professional entertainment to Cleveland. We thank you all for your support of live theatre, and most of all for your support of Blank Canvas Theatre.