Our mission is to maintain a professional theatre company dedicated to returning the classics to the stages of Harlem; to create employment and educational outreach opportunities in the theatre arts; to create and nurture a new, young, and culturally diverse audience for the classics; and to heighten the awareness of theatre and of great art in Harlem.


The Classical Theatre of Harlem creates theatre that entertains diverse audiences who desire to be highly engaged emotionally and highly satisfied intellectually by productions anchored in the context of the African Diaspora.


The classics give us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves by reexamining, reinterpreting, and redefining our origins. The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) provides theatrical productions and theatre-based educational and literary programs at little or no cost to underserved communities in Harlem and beyond. Since its founding in 1999, CTH has prioritized opportunity and access in the theatrical arts: onstage, backstage, in its administration, board, and audience. By leading with diversity, equity and inclusion as its core values, CTH attracts one of the most racially, generationally and socio-economically diverse theatre audiences in New York City.

CTH engages with Harlem residents, businesses, schools, and community-based organizations, to directly benefit 20,000 people each year. In fact, CTH is the only professional theatre company above 96th Street dedicated to the classical canon, revivals, new works and musicals.


  • 1999: CTH is founded at Harlem School of the Arts
  • 2006: Our Literary Series is created to nurture playwrights of color
  • 2008: CTH nearly closes due to financial mismanagement
  • 2009: CTH assumes new leadership under Ty Jones, Artistic Producing Director
  • 2013: Uptown Shakespeare in the Park is created
  • 2016: Our Annual Holiday Show premieres to provide a low cost Uptown holiday offering
  • 2018: Lincoln Center and Columbia University partnerships formed
  • 2019: 20th Anniversary of CTH and the 100th Anniversary of Harlem Renaissance
  • 2020: CTH launches Behind The Curtain online programming