Cuomo Theatre Collaborative
Preserve and Expand Portland Performance Space!
A Collaboration to Honor a Legacy and Invest in the Future
Building on the work of Philip Cuomo
For 26 years, even in uncertain times, CoHo Theatre 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, three companies with whom he played significant roles – CoHo Productions, Third Rail Repertory Theatre, and PETE (Portland Experimental Theater Ensemble), 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 Third Rail and PETE, and the innumerable artists who have created and shared innovative work in the space for the last 26 years.
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, and Covid has compounded this 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.
About the partnership
The Philip Cuomo Family Foundation: The Philip Cuomo Family Foundation is committed to preserving Philip’s legacy. Their 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.