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History of Akron Civic Theatre

Long recognized among the community’s cultural landmarks, the Akron Civic Theatre has a rich and spectacular history.
It has provided the community with a venue for quality entertainment and live performances for over seventy years.

During that time, hundreds of thousands of people have been thrilled by various theatrical presentations, both on stage and on screen.

The theater was built in 1929 by Marcus Loew and designed by famed theater architect, John Eberson. The interior structure was fashioned after a Moorish castle featuring Mediterranean decor, including medieval carvings, authentic European antiques and Italian alabaster sculptures.

Among facilities of its size, the Civic is one of only five remaining atmospheric theaters in the country where patrons experience a twinkling star-lit sky and intermittent clouds moving across the horizon, all while sitting inside the auditorium.

Restoration and Expansion

In June 2001, the Akron Civic Theatre closed its doors for the most comprehensive restoration and expansion project in its history. Over the course of the next sixteen months, just over $19 million was spent bringing the theater up to modern performance and patron standards, and to restoring its failing 70-year old infrastructure.

Following its re-opening in November 2002, the New Civic, along with its partner The University of Akron’s E. J. Thomas Hall, continued to play a significant leadership role in downtown revitalization. In May 2003, the Civic began a partnership with the City of Akron to program and operate Lock 3 Live! a new outdoor performance venue featuring more than 80 events and attractions scheduled between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The success of the Akron Civic Theatre is a testament, particularly during these difficult economic times, to the support of our community and the vision of its leaders. Support for the Civic has come to be understood for what it is - an investment in our community that fuels the economy and drives downtown revitalization by hosting the best in local, national, international entertainment and events.

Behind a restoration and expansion of this magnitude stands a litany of organizations and individuals who have worked diligently in the belief that this project would make the community a better place to live, work and play. This help came locally, regionally and nationally.

We appreciate the support of Summit County and the Summit County Port Authority, with particular appreciation to former Executive Tim Davis, current Executive Jim McCarthy and all the members of County Council. We also thank the State of Ohio, Governor Bob Taft, former Senator Roy Ray, Senator Kevin Coughlin, Representatives Brian Williams and John Widowfield and the entire Summit County delegation, the City of Akron, Mayor Don Plusquellic and all of City Council, the federal program“ Save America’s Treasures,” Congressman Ralph Regula and former Congressman Tom Sawyer. Private sector leadership grants came from the Knight, GAR, Brennan and Corbin Foundations, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, OMNOVA Solutions and FirstEnergy, as well as leadership gifts from many individuals and corporations. The Civic also appreciates the support of Honorary Campaign Co-Chairs Ann and David Brennan and Francia and Fred Albrecht, and Campaign Co-chairs Nancy Brennan and Sean O’Connor.

BMD logo
County of Summit
AAA of Akron
Gay Community
The Heritage Group
BMW Volkswagen
Lehner Family
Wayside
The Berroteran Group
Knight Foundation
Markham Machine
Fifth Third
Akron Childrens Hospital
Bridgestone
Thomarios
Knox Marketing
Omnova Foundation
Orr Family Foundation
Gay Community
DAP
Welty
Jones Group
Harwick Standard
Novus Clinic
Cavalier
Luigis
Great Lakes
Lake Erie Electric
Fed Ex Custom Critical
Roetzel
Olympic Steel
Akron Civic Theatre Women's Guild
Nova Title Agency
The University of Akron
GAR
Peg's Foundation
City of Akron
Lake Erie Electric
DFA
GPD Group
Cleveland Clinic Akron General
US BANK
Akron Civic Commons
Acme Logo
Ohio Arts council
Steere Enterprises
Kw Chervenic
Clifton Larson Allan
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Wells Fargo
S & T Bank
Akron Community Foundation
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