History

Dobama Theatre was founded in 1959 by Donald and Marilyn Bianchi, Barry Silverman and Mark Silverberg. During those years, Dobama produced work on Coventry Road. and worked consistently to professionally produce plays of consequence not previously offered at other area theaters with a company of trained theatre artists. After over 30 years of creating great theatre, Ron Newell and Joyce Casey took the reins from Don Bianchi and continued Dobama’s important mission to bring important new plays to the region. In 1994, under the leadership of Joyce Casey, Dobama hired its first Equity actor for a production of Donald Margulies’ SIGHT UNSEEN. Joyce helped guide the theatre through a time when Dobama was without a permanent home that began in May 2005 after the theatre left the Coventry Road space. This nomadic era culminated in 2008 with a highly successful co-production with Karamu House of the musical CAROLINE, OR CHANGE. Upon Joyce’s retirement, Joel Hammer and Dianne Boduszek took over as Artistic and Managing Director, respectively.  Their work together launched Dobama's permanent residence in the beautiful current spaces in the Heights Library facility on Lee Road. In 2013, Nathan Motta was appointed Artistic Director and Julie Friedman (after many years of service on the Dobama staff) was made Managing Director, positions that both still hold today.

ON MARCH 10, 2014 THE DOBAMA THEATRE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
VOTED UNANIMOUSLY FOR THE THEATRE TO BECOME AN EQUITY HOUSE. THE 2014-2015 SEASON marked DOBAMA's first year as
THE REGION’S THIRD FULL TIME EQUITY THEATRE, AND ITS ONLY
FULL TIME SMALL PROFESSIONAL THEATRE.

Each year, Dobama produces six Mainstage plays.  Our Mainstage productions are Cleveland, American or World premieres. Dobama’s reputation for being professional, innovative, and forward-thinking has led to numerous honors including numerous awards from the Cleveland Critics Circle, an Outstanding Achievement in Theatre Award from the Ohio Theatre Alliance, and two Theatre Excellence Awards from Northern Ohio Live magazine.

Notable plays that have seen their Cleveland premiere at Dobama Theatre are THE PILLOWMAN,  THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA?, THE LAST FIVE YEARS,  THE LARAMIE PROJECT, CLOSER,  WIT,  HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE , ALL IN THE TIMING, TOP GIRLS, MARVIN'S ROOM, SPEED THE PLOW, CLOUD NINE, TRUE WEST, CATCH 22, ROOTS, ON THE VERGE, EASTERN STANDARD, GOD OF CARNAGE, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, as well as the first locally produced production of ANGELS IN AMERICA.

The Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival, the first event of its kind in the country, inspires the creation of plays by area first through twelfth graders. Created in 1977, the Festival encourages and rewards the creative expression of hundreds of area students. Award-winning plays are published in an annual book and professionally produced by Dobama Theatre. As part of the Festival, Dobama offers a weekend of FREE theater to area families and provides teacher and student workshops.


Dobama Theatre’s mission is to
premiere the best contemporary plays
by established and emerging playwrights in professional productions of the highest quality.

Through educational and outreach programming, Dobama Theatre nurtures
the development of theatre artists and builds new audiences for the arts while
provoking an examination of our contemporary world.