Since 1999, the Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) has established itself as a forceful presence on the landscape of American Theater. With more than 40 productions to their credit, CTH garners critical acclaim from diverse yet established institutions. Called “the company to follow and relish” by the New York Times, the Times also praised CTH’s contribution of “remarkable, important and valuable theatre.” With 61 AUDELCO nominations and 18 awards for excellence in Black Theatre, 2 awards from Lucille Lortel, 4 nominations and 1 award from Drama Desk, 5 OBIE awards, CTH received the Edwin Booth Award for Artistic Excellence, following in the steps of past honorees Tony Kushner, Hal Prince, Joseph Papp and The Royal Shakespeare Company. Classical Theatre of Harlem is the only year-round theatre company operating on an AEA LORT contract in Harlem, presenting a world repertory ranging from works by classical playwrights (Chekhov, Beckett and Shakespeare), established American playwrights (Wilson, Langston Hughes and Walcott) to new plays by emerging playwrights, in productions that created nearly 500 artist opportunities, assisted 64 actors to earn their Actor’s Equity Membership and reached an attending audience of over 130,000 patrons.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE described CTH as having, “The youngest, most diverse audiences in town”. Employing performers who are under-represented in classical theater in particular, CTH casts actors of color (including Asians, Latinos and East Indian) in roles not incidentally or as supernumeraries, but consistently and in major roles including Medea, Hamlet and King Lear. They strive for faithful productions of classic works where race is not a qualifying or identifying issue. Their audience and their producing entity is diverse, and in this context, they stand alone.