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Akron Civic Theatre receives more than $8M in upgrades

WOIO Cleveland logo WOIO Cleveland 4/16/2021 Tiarra Braddock
a building lit up at night: (Source: Akron Civic Theatre) © Provided by WOIO Cleveland (Source: Akron Civic Theatre)

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Thanks to generous donors and federal money, the Akron Civic Theatre was able to get a more than $8 million dollar face lift.

Executive Director of the Akron Civic Theatre Howard Parr said the money went to renovating the grand lobby, creating a new stage area and other improvements.

“Put some murals on the outside of the building, build a brand new box office, we got a lot done for 8.5 million dollars,” said Parr.

Parr says things are looking up now, but the pandemic cast a dark shadow over the historic landmark.

“It was tough, we reduced our staff considerably,” said Parr.

Parr said donors won’t regret their investment.

“We did about 200 events a year before the pandemic, and now with the new Knight Stage opening up, we’ll be doing around 300 events a year,” said Parr. “We’ll be bringing around 150,000 people downtown and an economic impact of about $8 million annually.”

Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan said the newly renovated theatre will take Akron’s downtown entertainment scene to a whole new level.

“I look at playhouse square and I look at other cities... I love all the theaters in Playhouse Square, but I don’t think it has anything on the civic,” said Horrigan.

In the past couple of months, there has been only small-scale events inside the theater, but Parr said they hope to have bigger events starting in mid-August.

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