Who Are We
Our Mission: Ensemble Theatre is dedicated to the responsible production of works that celebrate the human spirit drawn from the rich cannon of modern American classics as well as other significant contemporary plays. Ensemble serves greater Cleveland and the Midwest region by reintroducing the classics, examining them with new eyes, and supporting the development of new works for the American theater.
- The theater is committed to non-traditional casting and to providing culturally diverse programming that speaks to issues of contemporary life. Educational and outreach activities impact youth and under served populations through resident and touring performances.
- Ensemble Theatre believes that the arts are an essential and meaningful part of life. The theatre offers an important forum for stimulating and provoking thought about the issues of contemporary life, and it is a place for communal experience.
- Introducing future generations to the arts will enlighten them about the human condition and provide them with a resource to nourish them throughout their lives. All art, including theatre, should be a celebration of diversity and human dignity.
- Ensemble adheres to a credo with a policy of non-traditional, casting. This is the use of actors of any race, sex, ethnicity or degree of disabilities in roles for which such factors are not germane to the development of stage characters or the play.
The theatre provides the highest possible level of professionalism in all areas to nurture new talent, and to be ever mindful of the power of art to entertain and move the audience.
ENSEMBLE THEATRE STAFF
Celeste Cosentino (Executive Artistic Director) has served as an Artistic Associate and Operations Manager or in some "role" for Ensemble Theatre since she could walk. She has served in one capacity or another for local Cleveland theatre's her entire life, spending many formative years "in the house" while her mother, Lucia Colombi, was interim Artistic Director for Karamu in the early to mid 80's, the same years her mother spent founding Ensemble Theatre. She is well known and respected in the Cleveland Theatre Community having worked with The Cleveland Play House, Dobama Theatre, Clague Play House, Cain Park, Bang & Clatter, Willoughby Fine Arts and Weathervane Playhouse. She is a graduate of the Ohio University School of Theatre and returned to Cleveland in 2008, after living and working in New York City. Some of her favorite acting credits are Marela in Anna in the Tropics, Alice in Closer, Desdemona in Othello, and Kayleen in Gruesome Playgound Injuries. Favorite directing credits include The Gospel According to James, Death of a Salesman, Lower Ninth, Animals out of Paper, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and The North Pool. She looks foward to directing BOTH parts of Tony Kushner's epic Angels in America this season! Celeste is the daughter of Ensemble Founder, Lucia Colombi and has returned home to support her mother's mission by providing a fresh perspective as the next Artistic Director. She was raised by Ensemble Theatre and has a special dedication to it's continuation for many years to come.
Tyler Whidden (Associate Artistic Director / Education Director) was born and raised in Cleveland, the son of a local professional hockey player. Hanging up his skates in college, Tyler began studying playwriting with Charles Smith and Vince Cardinal at the renowned Professional Playwriting Program at Ohio University where he earned his BFA. After a decade as a stand-up comic, Tyler moved to Chicago where he worked with the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theatre and the Neo-Futurists, two of the country's best theatres for producing new work. After earning his MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Tyler began working with Ensemble Theatre in Cleveland Heights helping create and organize the StageWrights workshop, providing opportunities for local playwrights to work on their plays. The growth of the StageWrights led to the inception of the Colombi New Plays Festival -- now going on its 6th season -- featuring productions and readings of plays written by Cleveland playwrights. Having recently earned his MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University, Tyler continues to create opportunities for writers and theatre artists as an Instructor with Ohio University and a Professor with Southern New Hampshire University. Head Shot coming soon!
Becca Moseley (General Manager / Resident Production Stage Manager) is excited to be involved continually with Ensemble Theatre. Most recently, Becca stage managed Beyond The Horizon, The Chairs, Prelude To A Kiss & Animals Out of Paper. She played the various roles in Ensembles recent production of Frankenstein as well as understudied Pearl for the Ensemble production of The Iceman Cometh, where she also served as the rehearsal stage manager and crew. Other stage managing and technical credits include Camelot, The Nutcracker Ballet, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds, and Green Grow the Lilacs. She has treaded the boards as Rosalind (As You Like It), Maggie (A Chorus Line,) Fabiana Cunningham (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,) Dorine (Tartuffe,) Becca (Rabbit Hole,) Antonia (Man of La Mancha) Gwendolen (The Importance of Being Ernest,) and various others.
Sarah May (Artistic Associate/Advisor) is thrilled to come home to Ensemble Theatre to support Lucia Colombi's talented daughter Celeste as Artistic Director. In the past Sarah served as Education Director for Ensemble and directed such memorable productions as The Normal Heart (winner of of the Cleveland Critics Circle awards for Best Non-Musical Production, Best Actor and Best Director 2012), Dividing the Estate, Having Our Say, The Delany Sister's First 100 Years; Athol Fugard's Valley Song; Paul Robeson (featuring Tony Sias); Little Tommy Parker's Celebrated Minstrel Show, and Anton in Show Business! She will direct Thurgood for the 2014-2015 Season. Sarah is a well known director whose work has been seen on most area stages. Sarah spent 10 years in New York City performing, directing, and developing educational programs for Playwrights Horizons, Henry Street Settlement, and The Roundabout Theatre. She returned to Cleveland to serve as Director of Education for Great Lakes Theatre Festival, where she developed their Shakespeare School Residency Program, and as Director of Karamu Theatre from 1990 to 1997. She has taught acting for The Cleveland Play House and Tri-C Metro and been a guest artist at Baldwin-Wallace College.
Aaron Elersich (Artistic Associate/ Director /Production Associate) has been a staple in Northeast Ohio Theatre for the better part of the last decade. In addition to his work with Ensemble, Aaron has directed and produced critically acclaimed projects with the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, and has been seen on numerous stages throughout the region including The Cleveland Playhouse, The Beck Center, and Lakeland Civic Theater. He is excited to join the Ensemble staff and ready for the many endeavors this coming season!
Martin Cosentino (Managing Director Emeritus/Production Associate/Special Projects Co-Ordinator) has been with Ensemble Theatre since its birth in 1979. Martin holds a degree in Architecture from Case Western Reserve University. As a designer and builder, he has worked in these fields for over thirty years. He has brought these design and building skills, as well as very capable administrative skills to the Ensemble organization. He was project manager for Ensemble’s major renovations of its 145-seat performance space at The Civic in Cleveland Heights. He has performed every job at the theatre, including stage manager, set design and construction, graphic design and original illustrations. Martin became General Manager in 2007. In 2008, due to the artistic director’s illness, the Board of Trustees named him Interim Managing Director. In May of 2009, the Board named him Managing Director for the 2009 -2010 season.
Stephen Vasse-Hansell (Technical Director/Carpenter) is no stranger to Ensemble, having worked as an actor, set builder, designer, and director. Stephen has been engaged in the theatrical arts for over 40 years, including residencies in Chicago, Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio. He has participated in more than 200 productions as an actor, director, designer, technical director, or writer. He has three Jefferson Award nominations to his credit. He owns V-H Enterprises LTD., a custom design furniture and cabinetry business.
August Scarpelli (Assistant Technical Director, Carpenter) is happy to return to Ensemble Theatre for his third season! He has been seen onstage in Death of a Salesman , The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, The Phantom Tollbooth and Jerusalem. He has been lucky enough to work as Assistant Technical Director with Ensemble on Margin of Error, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, Radio Golf, and The North Pool. He has been the Technical Director and Set Designer for Ensemble's productions of This is Our Youth, The Phantom Tollbooth, and most recently a collaboration production of Medea at Six in Ensemble's Playground Theatre.
Eva Nel Brettrager (Resident Stage Manager) is honored to work with Ensemble Theatre; a passionate and artistic company that embraces local talent and creativity. She has been active in the Greater Cleveland theatre scene for many years, but found her homebase here at Ensemble in 2015. She has previously worked with Tri-C West, Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, TrueNorth, and Beck Center. When not working diligently at Ensemble, she is a Resident Theatre Technician at Breen Center for the Performing Arts, where most notably, they hosted The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. She is also a full time student with The University of Phoenix, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English. Many thanks to Celeste and Ian for welcoming her to the Ensemble family. Live long and prosper.
Kayla Davis (Box Office Associate)
Amy Strumbly (Box Office Associate)