The Emery Theatre is finally on its way back. After years of dormancy, the 100-year-old Over-the-Rhine venue is in the midst of a restoration that will allow artistic endeavors of varying stripes to grace its stage.
The Emery Center Corporation Board and The Requiem Project — the nonprofit brainchild of Tara Lindsey Gordon and Cincinnati native Tina Manchise, a duo intent on restoring the Emery's historic legacy — announced over the weekend that the Emery has secured two architects to take on the renovation: locally based John Senhauser Architects, and Cleveland-based Westlake Reed Leskosky, a firm that specializes in opening closed arts venues.
“Our vision is to restore the Emery Theatre into a vibrant, acoustically pure performance space that will serve as an independent venue for film, theatre, music and dance for local and national touring artists,” Manchise says. “The restoration of the Emery Theatre is also part of a larger initiative to revitalize the social and cultural environment of historic Over-the-Rhine. The Emery will provide a venue for arts experiences and expression in the heart of this developing neighborhood.”
The most intriguing part of that equation is Manchise's mentioning of film — there hasn't been a viable movie house in downtown Cincinnati since the Real Movies closed more than a decade ago.
As a teaser, the Emery will open its doors the weekend of Nov. 11-13 for a fundraiser that will include performances by longtime local music-makers Over the Rhine, the MadCap Puppet Theatre, Exhale Dance Tribe and others. There is no definitive word on when the restoration will be complete, but the World Choir Games, which the Emery will host in July 2012, is rapidly approaching.