CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Public Theatre has announced their new season of shows as they continue to try and provide the area with diverse and innovative works of art.

“The whole idea of theatre was founded at the same time as democracy was founded," says Raymond Bobgan, the artistic director at CPT. "There was that sense that theatre can really help us as a community dive into those critical issues and think about them in new ways and connect to each other in new ways. That’s the whole purpose of theatre, so that we can connect to each other and understand ourselves better.”

Cleveland Public Theatre was founded on the idea that Cleveland needed a stage that would push the envelope, and provide voices to people and topics that needed a microphone. They’ve been doing that for more than 30 years.

The season includes world premieres, regional premieres, new developments and special events, with half the works by local playwrights and a majority by women and artists of color.

Gracing the stage in Gordon Square this season will be everything from Br'er Cotton by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm to American Dreams by Leila Buck and Tamilla Woodard.

It’s a risk to fill out your season with shows that most people have never heard of, but that’s a risk they feel responsible to take.

“We’re thinking about shows that you wouldn’t see anywhere else in Cleveland, thinking about voices that we need to hear from," Bobgan says. "We need those stories, and we especially need them right now so that we can continue to build consciousness and compassion in our community.”

The theme of the season is "stand" and CPT is hoping not just to stand up for diversity in theatre, but help fuel a desire for it.

“There is something, not just about equity or making things fair, but a hunger. A hunger to understand better and to broaden the voices in our community so that we can have the best and most inspired art,” says Bobgan.

For a full list of shows and programs going on at Cleveland Public Theatre, visit their Web site HERE.