Blake Robison is the Cincinnati Playhouse's Next Leader

New artistic director comes from theater in Bethesda, Md.

Share on Nextdoor
Blake Robison is eager to be part of the national theater conversation.
Blake Robison is eager to be part of the national theater conversation.

The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park today announced that Blake Robison, a highly accomplished director and producer, will be its next artistic director after a year-long search that considered more than 100 candidates. Currently the producing artistic director at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, he will assume his full-time duties at the Playhouse next July.—-

In a phone conversation, Robison told me, “I have admired the Cincinnati Playhouse from afar for years. It’s absolutely an honor to follow Ed Stern’s footsteps.” Producing Artistic Director will retire after 20 years with the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season. Robison added, “I’ve always wanted to be part of the national theater conversation, which is to say that the artists you work with at the Playhouse, the playwrights you present, the audiences that you cultivate, they all have a seat at that table. By virtue of its status, its history and its accomplishments, the Playhouse can do more than many theaters. I want to be part of that national conversation in the way the Playhouse has done so on a consistent basis.”

Robison has more than 20 years experience as a director and producer, especially an impressive track record of leading theaters in New York, Tennessee (The Clarence Brown Theatre at the University of Tennessee), Vermont (where he was co-founder of Vermont Stage Company) and Washington, D.C., to increased success with acclaimed artistic programming, creative community partnerships and innovative audience development and education programs.

Since Ed Stern’s arrival in 1992, the Cincinnati Playhouse has undergone remarkable artistic and organizational growth, solidifying its leadership in the Cincinnati arts community and its place in the national theater scene. The Playhouse is today viewed as a regional and national cultural asset, having earned a 2004 Regional Theatre Tony Award as well as creating a production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company in 2007 that went on to win the Tony Award for the year’s best Broadway revival.

Robison intends to build on that legacy, as well as engaging in a meaningful way with the Cincinnati community from a theatrical perspective. “For me,” Robison says, “theater and community go hand in hand. My family and I look forward to meeting new friends, being part of this community and making Cincinnati our home.” He and his wife Connan Morrissey and their two sons will be relocating to Cincinnati.


At Round House Theatre, Robison reconceived its second stage as a community arts center serving the theatre as well as nine partner organizations, created a laboratory to support local artists and developed a council of local artists as an advisory body to the theatre. He also launched the critically acclaimed Literary Works Project that reinterprets modern and classical novels through a theatrical prism for contemporary audiences.


Playhouse Board President Victoria Buyniski Gluckman says, “Blake’s infectious energy and extraordinary artistic vision will take us to the next level. He will have the opportunity to lead the Playhouse in the Park to continued growth and impact that has been the hallmark of its artistic success for many decades.”         


Robison will work with the Playhouse on a part-time consulting basis until June 30, 2012 in order to plan the 2012-13 season, get to know the Playhouse’s audience and engage with the Greater Cincinnati community before assuming his full-time responsibilities on July 1, 2012.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.