CLEVELAND — After going virtual for two years, Cleveland Public Theatre’s unique Station Hope event is back, live and in person at the place it was designed to highlight -- St. John’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland’s first authenticated Underground Railroad site.
The family-friendly event, a mix of theatre, dance, music and storytelling that celebrates Cleveland’s social justice heritage, will be held from 7 to 10 pm on Saturday, May 28, at the grounds of the church, located at 2600 Church Ave, Cleveland.
More than 200 artists and 50+ community and professional arts and cultural organizations will participate in the festival, which is free and open to all. Each year, the event draws more than 2,000 attendees to experience short performances, visual art displays and interactive art activities that highlight crucial moments from the past and important modern-day issues.
The community event takes its name from the fact that Cleveland was called “Station Hope” during the Underground Railroad period in our nation’s history. St. John’s Episcopal Church, built during the 1830s on Cleveland’s West Side, was one of the last stops for enslaved people heading north to Canada and its steeple served as a beacon of freedom.
Cleveland Public Theatre Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan said he’s eager to bring the event back to the church grounds.
“Every year at Station Hope, I have had the opportunity to watch the needle move in the audience – in their eyes, in their subtle moves, in how they respond,” Bobgan said. “But we couldn’t see it or feel it in the same way for the past two years. There were lots of comments and ‘likes,” but nothing replaces the live experience and I am so grateful to be back in person at St. John’s.”
As always, the Station Hope lineup of events will blend history with contemporary issues. The schedule includes a performance by the children of Lakeview Terrace, a nearby public housing estate, and original “superhero” posters designed by exhibits designed by Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian American and Arab youth living with serious illnesses and disabilities.
Patrons must wear masks while inside of the church. For more information on the mask policy, click here.
WKYC Studios is the media partner for this annual Cleveland Public Theatre event.