The Cuomo Theatre Collaborative
About the Cuomo Theatre Collaborative (CTC)
Since 1995, even in uncertain times, CoHo Theatrer at 2257 NW Raleigh Street has provided a vital resource for artists, and a reliable location for audiences. As CoHo’s Producing Artistic Director, Philip Cuomo committed himself to purchasing the performance venue on NW Raleigh in order to safeguard it against expansions in Slabtown that could threaten its existence as a performing arts venue – an overwhelmingly frequent occurrence throughout Portland. Prior to his death in November of 2021, Philip had made tremendous progress on this invaluable capital project, including negotiating purchase terms with the building’s owner, securing support from a foundation and two generous individual donors, and even engaging an architect to design renovations which would transform the space into a multi-functional artistic center for the community.
When we lost Philip, the three companies with whom he played significant roles – CoHo Productions, Third Rail Repertory Theatre, and Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE), joined to form the Cuomo Theatre Collaborative (CTC).
Working in tandem with the Philip Cuomo Family Foundation, the CTC is honoring Philip’s legacy by completing the important vision he had set into motion – preserving and expanding the space on NW Raleigh, and ensuring its accessibility as an incubator and home for artists and the performing arts.
Using a model of collective leadership, artist empowerment, and affordable access, the CTC will leverage this space to preserve and deepen the performing arts as a necessary ingredient for community vitality in Portland’s exploding Slabtown neighborhood. The building will serve as a space of inclusion, access, innovation, and connection. It will continue to serve as a venue for small to midsize companies like CoHo, Third Rail, and PETE, and the innumerable artists who have created and shared innovative work in the space for the last 26 years.
The mission of the Cuomo Theatre Collaborative is to secure a sustainable home for the performing arts at 2257-2259 NW Raleigh Street that provides space, resources, and opportunities to artists and audiences. Through a model of collective leadership, artist empowerment, and affordable access, this space will reverse the gentrification narrative and integrate the arts as a necessary piece of community vitality in Portland’s exploding Slabtown neighborhood.
Performance requires a place. A place to make, to practice, to gather, and to share a visceral experience. Smaller itinerant companies and individual artists are dependent on access to high quality, affordable performance, rehearsal, teaching, and office spaces. Over the last several years, venue after venue has closed or downsized. There is a scarcity crisis that limits opportunities. Covid has compounded the problem. There is no shortage of creative sparks lighting up Portland. They just need the right place to land, catch, and burn steady. The vision of the Cuomo Theatre Collaborative is to provide this place at 2257-2259 NW Raleigh Street.
The CTC offers a strong and unique network of programming, resources, and opportunities for the community: compelling productions of scripted work, innovative devised pieces, and community events; accessible performance, rehearsal, and office space; robust technical infrastructure, including a recording studio, design lab, and broadcast equipment; a 10-month training program in contemporary performance; a year-long Mentorship Company for emerging theatre makers; and a co-producing model to subsidize projects by independent artists and smaller companies. With all of this, creative sparks from artists of all backgrounds will find a promising, radically inclusive place to land; a vibrant, supportive environment in which to ignite; and a sustainable home for self-expression where we can all gather around the fire.
About the partnership
The Philip Cuomo Family Foundation: The Philip Cuomo Family Foundation is committed to preserving Philip’s legacy. Our first mission is to secure a permanent home, at the CoHo Theatre building, for a consortium of performing arts organizations in Portland.
CoHo Productions: For the past 26 years, CoHo has nurtured and supported Portland area theatre artists through a model of theatrical co-production, championing exceptional local artists and deepening the theatrical landscape of the community. Inspired by the vision of previous Producing Artistic Director, Philip Cuomo, their mission is to empower a robust and sustainable producing community in Portland by providing emerging artists with essential creative resources, opportunities, and networking support, centering marginalized and oppressed voices in order to foster a more liberated theatre culture in our city.
Third Rail Repertory Theatre: Third Rail Repertory Theatre was established in 2003 to provide a dynamic artistic home for both audiences and artists in Portland. The company embraces collaboration, discipline, and mentorship to produce timely stories that provoke dialogue, encourage empathy, and inspire curiosity. Philip’s humor, passion, curiosity, generosity, and attention to detail have infused Third Rail’s reputation for creating theatre with “an abundance of craft.”
PETE (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble): PETE is a company of artists who make new plays in a collaborative way. They train together and teach their work. PETE is committed to creative rigor, to the enrichment of our local arts ecology, connecting with diverse audiences, and challenging established notions of theatrical form and content with innovative practice, presentation, and organization. PETE is home to the Institute for Contemporary Performance, a year-long professional training program, created in partnership with Philip Cuomo.
About Philip Cuomo
Philip was a pillar of the Portland performance community. He was an impassioned and accomplished artist, producer, and educator. He worked tirelessly to ensure opportunities to make and to experience live art in this town. Philip Cuomo served as CoHo’s Producing Artistic Director, was a company member with Third Rail, Executive Director of PETE’s Institute for Contemporary Performance, and was the creative force behind CoHo’s Clown Cohort.
A magnetic, vivacious human being, Philip developed many of the programs and concepts that are still foundational to how CoHo operates today. Philip gave birth to CoHo Lab, our incubator program that fosters new artists, helping them develop their latest works in a professional setting and giving them a stage to practice their craft. Philip introduced CoHo to the idea of Radical Listening, a way in which we can use our ears and our senses to connect intimately with the world around us. Philip taught us… “What is the spirit of theatre? The spirit of theatre is empathy, the energy that lives and breathes between the production and the audience. When we practice Radical Listening,
we come together in a room to practice active listening, then go forth, in the name of empathy, and share that with each other. Then – we have a better world.”
And this is the fundamental truth of it all – Philip Cuomo created a better world, everywhere he went. Described by his community as The King of the Clowns, Philip was a beacon of positivity, whose kindness, sense of whimsy, mischievous nature, playful spirit, fierce wit, ferocious talent, and huge heart touched the lives of everyone who’s path he crossed. We are honored to be a part of the Cuomo Theatre Collaborative, honoring Philip’s legacy and preserving a space for the arts in Portland in his memory for years to come.
CoHo needs your support
CoHo is a nonprofit theater that heavily relies on the generosity of our community to continue. If you support our mission, please give what you can!