The Dobama Collection

About the Dobama Theatre

Exterior of the Dobama Theatre

The Dobama Theatre was founded by idealistic theater students, Don and Marilyn Bianchi, Barry Silverman and Mark Silverberg as their way of presenting free quality theater for the people of Cleveland. Dobama started as a very small production company that managed to present its first production during the week of May 17, 1960. Barry and Mark left Dobama shortly afterwards, while the Bianchis remained to nurture the theatre on Don’s often proclaimed foundation of Love and Respect, and to develop it into an acclaimed, innovative, and award-winning (if not entirely free) theater.

Although production costs have made an entirely free season impossible, Dobama has always provided at least one weekend or day of free theater, and occasionally, "pay what you can" theater! In addition, The Marilyn Bianchi Children’s Playwriting Festival, established in her memory, is a program that accepts plays submitted by school children, and produces the winning play from each grade. When the budget allows, all of the winning scripts are compiled and published for the children as well.

After more than four decades in a renovated bowling alley at 1846 Coventry Rd. and four years without a home, Dobama began its 50th season in a new facility at 2340 Lee Road, in the former YMCA building across the street from the Cleveland Heights/University Heights Public Library.

We hope that this material will help researchers learn more about this unique theater group, its survival in the face of shifting times and realities and its committment to give the people of Cleveland the best and newest plays produced and acted by a dedicated and talented company.