East Cleveland Community Theater: Bringing one of East Cleveland's Gems into the 21st Century

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Wed, 04/20/2005 - 16:29.

Wednesday April 20thmembers of REALNEO and other supporters of East Cleveland visited the East Cleveland Community Theater. ECT is situated in the heart of an exciting revival going on in East Cleveland. Executive Director Theresa Tucker spoke to the group and gave a tour of the building. She is filled with passion for ECT and does much more than just fund raising and program development.


Our meeting was part of a grass roots public initiative to optimize virtual community and bridge the digital divide in East Cleveland, for invidiatual residents and worthy organizations like ECT - read more about these efforts at the East Cleveland virtual community here. Theresa was excited to hear how ECT can benefit from new and innovative community partnerships and long needed access to Internet technology.




ECT has existed for approximately 30 years at its present location, primarily through the efforts of dedicated volunteers. Each year the group performs a packed schedule of plays and musicals. Costumes and sets are made in house using donated materials. The majority of the audience, including subscribers, is over the age of 50. In the summer there is a low cost theater camp for children.


One of ECT’s greatest assets is its building – a prominent landmark on the corner of Euclid Ave. and Windemere Street. ECT owns the stone Romanesque style former Episcopal church that it occupies. Though stained black on the exterior by many years of pollution, the building is as solid as a fortress and offers several unique spaces for performance, meetings and education.




Oak doors, half-timbered ceilings, ornate plaster moldings and a ca. 1900 institutional style kitchen add to the charm.



ECT does have its obstacles. For many years the group was supported by well-invested donations; however, those days have recently come to an end. Just heating the building is very costly. An energy audit needs to be done in order to find ways to save energy and cut costs. The main theater needs new lighting, which is estimated to cost $20,000.




In the recent past, ECT’s 12 member board of directors has begun exploring new fundraising and grant writing efforts. Using technology to reach new audiences, benefactors and volunteers is one solution. Theresa realizes that ECT is not as well known as it should be, but setting up a portal with REALNEO will quickly change that. An archive of photos and videos of past performances combined with previews of upcoming performances could make the ECT COIL a popular site to visit. ECT’s secure parking lot, close proximately to the Windemere Rapid Station, University Circle and Cleveland Heights should make it a popular destination for the many theater lovers in the area.