Entrance to Goodyear Hall/Theater in the East End

Akron Civic expands operations with addition of Goodyear Theater

Derek Kreider, general assignment reporter

Photos by Derek Kreider

Akronites can expect much more in the way of entertainment starting in August.

The Akron Civic Theater has reached a deal with The East End— Akron’s redevelopment of the old Goodyear Tire and Rubber headquarters— enabling the Civic to take over programming and operations of The Goodyear Theater.

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In addition to managing The Goodyear Theater, The Civic owns the Knight Stage. They also handle booking for Lock 3 and box office operations at EJ Thomas. 

Live Nation will be handling the promotion of national and internationally touring acts at the Goodyear Theater. 

Howard Parr, executive director at the Civic, is responsible for booking the 1,458 seat venue. He says the Goodyear Theater will be following the Civic’s general programming model.

“What you’ll see,” Parr says, “is a mix of nationally touring programs, along with community based local and regional programs.” 

He estimates that 20-30% of the schedule at the Goodyear Theater will be out-of-town talent, while 60-70% will be homegrown, “everything from a local-regional band to a graduation or a dance recital.”

Bob Ovesny, vice president of portfolio management at Industrial Realty Group and point person for IRG at The East End, echoed Parr’s sentiment. “Local, for us, is the focus,” he says.

Between both venues, Akronites can expect more than just weekend events, Ovesny says. “We’re trying to have doors open and options for people now that restrictions are lifted, and people are able to congregate again.”

According to Parr, efficiency plays a key role in the partnership between the Civic and The East End, comparing the arrangement to Playhouse Square or Columbus Area Performing Arts. It’s easier, he says, to have multiple venues under the same leadership than it is to have separate operations.

Despite these different venues falling under a single administrative umbrella, Parr insists there’s no need to fear homogenization. The introduction of another venue under the Civic’s wing will instead increase the diversity of performers coming through Akron. Not that the current programming lacks variety, he points out.

“There are artists that will feel comfortable in a space [the size of the Goodyear Theater] that would not feel comfortable doing either Civic Theater or EJ Thomas,” says Parr. “We’ll see more artists playing in Akron as a result of having a venue that is right sized for them.”

Both Ovesny and Parr are refreshingly enthusiastic about providing the community with a place to showcase their talent, or gather together in celebration.“We want this to be the spot in Akron where everyone feels comfortable and anybody with any type of following can host an event,” Ovesny says.

Derek Kreider is a general assignment reporter and distribution manager for The Devil Strip.

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