The
CalArts Alumni Magazine

Ben Cleaveland (Theater BFA 88)

On March 13, Ben Cleaveland’s (Theater BFA 88) students at Conservatory Theatre Ensemble were about to start a final tech dress on a main stage production when they got the news they needed to leave the theater immediately. Seven months later his students are looking back over their shoulders with pride as they see a podcast festival of 29 student-written plays with more than 3,000 views and an explosion of new writing for the camera that will be produced this year. Three student-written “main stage” fall productions are now filming, directed by Cleaveland and visiting pro artists; students are self-filming on smartphones, while our student creative production teams bring it to life remotely. Directing, playwriting, design, producing, and acting are equal threads that run through the school’s inclusive, and non-audition, student-operated program. In mid-October the first film will be ready for viewing via www.ctetam.org. Ben’s program continues to send many seniors off to CalArts, with eight current design and acting students. To celebrate the full circle of sharing knowledge, alumna and CalArts senior Sam Novick is currently coaching the student editors and providing key mentoring.