Cohesion Theatre cancels remaining 2019 shows, announces hiatus

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The cast of Cohesion Theatre’s “Frankenstein.” Press handout.

With the lease up at its Canton home and an executive director departing, Cohesion Theatre Company announced it’s cancelling its final shows in 2019 and taking an indefinite hiatus as it regroups.

Productions of “Blood Wedding” and “All We Know is Not Enough” have been called off, Cohesion said in a release, because staff “felt that it would be a disservice to their artists and audiences to attempt to mount them without adequate personnel and resources.”

The Playwrights Fellowship, an incubator for local playwrights, will continue on under the program’s coordinator, Abigail Cady, and hold two staged readings, for “By Sea” on Sept. 14-15 and “Where Our Dead Are Buried” on Sept. 22-23.

In an email, the company’s marketing director, Zoe DiGiorgio, said that when a boiler broke in “The Fallout Shelter,” Cohesion’s performance space in the United Evangelical Church, the company was informed its lease would not be renewed as the church owners prepared a sale of the building.

“We ran the numbers to estimate costs for the next two shows, including rentals for rehearsal spaces and performance venues and determined that, without a permanent home, it was not financially viable to continue to produce the season without extensive fundraising,” DiGiorgio wrote in an email. “We made this choice with heavy hearts, but we decided that the last two shows on our calendar deserved better than a rushed, low-budget attempt to get the productions merely running.”

Additionally, executive director Brad Norris is stepping down at the end of this month. The company said in a statement: “Brad has been the bedrock of Cohesion from the beginning, growing the company throughout its five years to include ever more ambitious projects and collaborations. He has made the difficult choice to step down in order to focus on some family and personal matters at this time. We will miss Brad’s leadership and will carry forward his commitment to creating a space for all in Baltimore theater.”

The company got the most out of its space, as Baltimore Fishbowl noted in our review of the adaptation of “Frankenstein,” which included a “larger-than-human-size puppet operated by the actor playing Dr. Frankenstein/Alphonse.”

Artistic director Jessica Rassp, Cady and an advisory committee are developing a new business plan for Cohesion Theatre Company and seeing if any adjustments need to be made to its mission or organizational structure.

In the meantime, the company is planning a garage sale at its 923 S. East Ave. home on June 15 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and June 16 from noon-4 p.m., to sell off costumes, props, supplies, furniture and more. Proceeds will go toward the Playwrights Fellowship.

And there will be a going-away celebration on June 28 at 7 p.m., with food and drinks to toast the company’s first five years.

But DiGiorgio indicated it’s only goodbye for now.

“We have the drive and imagination, certainly, to make these shows happen anywhere,” she wrote. “However, you can’t make these kinds of productions happen out of thin air, so while we are rebuilding our staff in our hiatus, we are also looking to return to a new home where we can continue to explore the limits of space and storytelling.”

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]
Brandon Weigel


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