Charenton Theater Co. aspires to enhance the Greater Cleveland theatrical landscape through the production of landmark plays of the modern theater; plays which challenged the boundaries of contemporary theater of their times. In so doing, we aim to develop an audience with an informed appreciation for quality theater and provide an environment that cultivates Cleveland area theater professionals. Our success will further a national respect and reputation for Cleveland talent.
Charenton was co-founded in 1999 by James Mango and Melissa Tilk on the ideal that we, as Clevelanders, can make world-class theater of our own. In our short history we have made a significant impact with ten full productions staged in a wide variety of venues, including parks, cemeteries, bars and even a steamship. We have consistently built our audience and our reputation by tackling the great works of the last hundred years with uncompromising artistic integrity while presenting them in such a unique fashion as to attract a new and non-traditional audience to this under appreciated art form.
When deciding on a name for this project, we wanted something that represented both the artistic integrity of the work and also the social goals we hope to aid. Purely by chance (or perhaps one of those rare moments of clarity), while sorting through stacks of scripts, Peter Weiss’ play Marat/Sade appeared on the top of the stack. This play is one of the most significant works of the 20th century as it influenced standards in acting and directing through Peter Brooke’s work with the play. For students of theater, the play is an icon of great drama; however, we recognize Charenton as a perfect, yet tongue-in-cheek, reference to our commitment to the city of Cleveland and its artistic community. The town of Charenton in France is, after all, home to the insane asylum where the residents perform plays.