AKRON, Ohio — Nearly two decades in the making, a historic gem in Northeast Ohio known as the Akron Civic Theatre is opening the curtain to a new era as it nears the end of a multi-million renovation project.
Inside the theatre, you won’t find live music or standing ovations, but instead, paint buckets, tarps and scaffolding—a sure sign that the downtown Akron venue will come out looking better than ever before.
At the turn of the century, the Akron Civic Theatre closed its doors for a $19 million restoration and expansion project. Now an $8.5 million capital campaign is picking up where that one left off by restoring the grand lobby and entry arcade to its original glory.
“It's so much brighter. The colors are so much more vivid. It's really amazing in here,” said Howard Parr, executive director of the theater.
The capital campaign includes adding two new murals and an outdoor video screen and deck which overlooks Lock 3.
Inside, you’ll find a new box office, administrative offices and a 220-seat club venue.
While the pandemic has ushered in big losses for entertainment venues, Parr is confident that the theater will come back stronger than before.
"We're taking advantage of the downtime to get this stuff done and to be ready when we're able to safely open up. We view ourselves more as an economic development or community development entity that happens to use arts and entertainment than we do necessarily view ourselves strictly as an arts and entertainment agency," Parr said.