The Apollo Theatre in Oberlin is synonymous with consistent family friendly movies shown at reasonable prices. For 96 years, the downtown movie house has opened its doors to enthusiastic patrons, ready to see the latest offering shown reel-to-reel from a single screen.
From the first thriller shown in 1913, to today's Oscar-winning melodramas, the Apollo has not disappointed its audience. The theater has been a mainstay in the Oberlin community at its comfortable locale at 19 E. College St., and appreciated by town and gown alike.
When longtime owners, brothers Sandy and William Steel, decided to put the historic movie house up for sale last year, Oberlin College sought ways to preserve this community and college asset. College Properties of Oberlin, a wholly owned subsidiary of the college, agreed to purchase the theater from the Steel family. The purchase included the theater and commercial and residential space adjacent to it.
The group plans to upgrade the theater to meet local business codes and make some modifications to the lobby and concession areas. College Properties of Oberlin will continue to operate the venue as a movie theater and has hired Cleveland Cinemas to manage and program the theater once the initial modifications to the 840-seat venue are complete.
Learn more about the early Apollo
News and Updates
It is usually quiet in quaint Oberlin. However in a big way, both the city and the college that are vital parts of this Northeast Ohio community have gone Hollywood, at least for a while.
The historic Apollo Theatre in Oberlin reopens this weekend following a $6 million facelift, which includes creating a home for Oberlin College's growing cinema studies department.
Oberlin’s historic Apollo Theatre, a community landmark that predates the rise of talking films, will reopen for a special series of film screenings as well as a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony during the Oberlin Illuminate campaign kickoff weekend. The theater is set to reopen following a yearlong renovation that integrates the Cinema Studies Program and its community outreach project, the Apollo Outreach Initiative.
The re-defining cinematic experience of Louis, a silent film about Louis Armstrong as a young boy, will be featured among the weekend of events celebrating the reopening of Oberlin's historic Apollo Theatre. The Oberlin Jazz Orchestra will perform the Wynton Marsalis score that accompanies the modern black and white film. This free event is open to the public on Sunday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are required and are available at the theatre two hours before the performance.
Oberlin cinema studies students had the opportunity to view the culmination of their spring semester’s work on the big screen at the Apollo Theater on May 20. The films, 10 in all, were screened again to sellout crowds during Commencement/Reunion Weekend.
Oberlin’s historic Apollo Theatre has been a venue of entertainment for nearly 100 years, predating the rise of talking films. This fall, the beloved landmark will reopen following a yearlong renovation to restore much of its Art Deco glory while integrating space for the cinema studies department and its community education project, the Apollo Outreach Initiative.
The Apollo Outreach Initiative in January launched a channel on YouTube to allow greater visibility of their work and to engage the community and other interested persons in projects and other programming. Founded in 2009 by Rian Brown, associate professor of cinema studies and new media, and Geoff Pingree, associate professor of cinema studies, the Apollo Outreach Initiative is a year-round media literacy outreach program housed in the cinema studies program at Oberlin College.
Since a subsidiary of Oberlin College purchased the historic Apollo Theatre more than a year ago, the college had hoped to expand the role of the building so that it could also serve as a place of education. Thanks to a gift made by two parents, that hope is becoming reality.
The Apollo Theatre will be closed from September 11, 2011, to early summer 2012 for the final phase of its renovations and improvements.
Oberlin College received a significant boost in its effort to revitalize the Apollo Theatre with the announcement of a $2 million historic preservation tax credit award from the State of Ohio.
(photo by Gary Cohen)