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About Classical Theater of Harlem

The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit professional theatre company that was co-founded by Christopher McElroen and Alfred Preisser in February of 1999.

The impetus for the company grew out of the success of a Shakespeare workshop they taught at the Harlem School of the Arts in the fall of 1998. The undertaking quickly became a labor of love as they joined forces with beginning and experienced actors, nascent and long-term theater professionals, supportive community residents, and poured 80 hours of work each week and every spare dime into building a full-fledged professional theatre company that has been recognized by the Drama League as “One of Eight Theatres in America to Watch.”

The Mission of CTH is:

  • To maintain a professional theatre company dedicated to presenting the “classics” in Harlem;

  • To create employment and educational outreach opportunities in the theatre arts community;

  • To create and nurture a new, young, and culturally diverse audience for the “classics”; and

  • To heighten the awareness of theater and of great art in Harlem.

Since its founding in 1999, CTH has presented nearly forty productions that have included works by Anton Chekhov, Samuel Beckett, Euripides, Jean Genet, Langston Hughes, Adrienne Kennedy, William Shakespeare, Melvin Van Peebles, Derek Walcott and August Wilson among many others. 

CTH combines non-traditional casting, original adaptations, music and dance in ways that render works from the classical canon as fresh, innovative, and essentially a new experience of world classics.

It is CTH’s vision to create the next great American theatre company whose value to its community is inherent and essential, a company that is engaged in producing theatre that has the capacity to change lives and truly reflects the diversity of ideas and racial tapestry that is America.


That giant-killer of a company, the Classical Theater of Harlem is a troupe that makes a habit of locating the most challenging works in the canon and knocking them off as if with a slingshot. - The New York Times

10 Years of CTH10th Anniversary Subscription Series

3 Shows for $90!

Three Sisters · Supreme Jealous Divine · The Great MacDaddy



Katori HallFuture Classics Reading Series

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning by Katori Hall

Directed by Lydia Fort

October 15 at 7PM



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