The Project

The Project

When the Ashland Schine's Theatre first opened its doors to the Ashland community in March 1942, it was a source of pride, symbolizing the growth and promise of the community. Like many other historic downtown theaters of its age across the country, however, the Schine's Theatre entered into a period of decline and deterioration over the years, finally shutting its doors in 2009. In less than 70 years, this entertainment destination went from a vibrant amenity to a derelict property—and a likely candidate for demolition—with a gaping hole in its roof, a disintegrating exterior, and a mold-covered interior.

Renewed Hope, Optimism, and Potential

In the retreating shadow of the Great Recession, local business owners and entrepreneurs who recognized Ashland's potential joined forces with elected officials to create public/private partnerships focused on bringing back the vitality of Ashland's downtown district, including the Schine's Theatre.

Through the formation of the Ashland Schine's Theatre, Inc. in 2015, a group of dedicated community volunteers purchased and began to restore the theatre. Their work was bolstered by grants awarded in 2017, 2019, and 2020 totaling $1,300,000 from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to repair the theatre's roof and repair and refurbish its exterior, and by the endorsement and enthusiasm of community stakeholders, which resulted in additional funding of more than $240,000.

In 2019, the Ashland Schine's Theatre Board of Directors voted unanimously to move forward with a comprehensive campaign to raise the $3 million required to complete the renovation of the theatre's interior and to provide funds for the first three years of operations.

More than Movies: A vision for the future

Once finished, Ashland Schine's Theatre will be a multipurpose entertainment destination, a home for local, regional, and national independent movies, community programming, and live entertainment. At a total of 20,500 square feet and with the capacity to accommodate up to 532 patrons, the theatre will offer a repertory of programs for people of all ages and tastes.

The theatre will be open seven days a week, 365 days a year with a diverse schedule of films, live performances, classes, and special events, including:

  • studio and new independent films
  • creative themed movie series (e.g., film noir, musicals, etc.)
  • Saturday morning children's matinees featuring classic cartoons and family-friendly films
  • film festivals
  • educational collaborations with area high schools, colleges, and universities for students interested in the arts and film making
  • space for community meetings of nonprofits and civic organizations
  • film-focused summer camps for middle and high school students
  • accredited student internships
  • venues for student-directed films and animation
  • displays of local artists in the lobby and reception area
  • free screenings open to the public underwritten by sponsors
  • concerts, plays, and comedic performance by local, regional, and national entertainers
  • special film nights for Ashland University students
  • rental opportunities for birthday parties, corporate events, and receptions
  • a "one stop shop" for conferences and business meetings
  • "dinner and a movie" promotions with area restaurants

You can help make the Schine's Theatre renovation a reality.

Donate to the Ashland Schine's Theatre Campaign

The New Schine's Theatre: What to expect

As a theatre with a total of 20,500 square feet and seating capacity for up to 532 patrons, the new Schine's Theatre experience will include a grand, renovated interior using original fixtures and materials (depending on condition) combined with modern ones that replicate the feel of the original 1940s design.

Entrance and Main Floor

  • Buy your tickets at the exterior ticket booth, restored from the original and located under the grand Ashland Schine's Theatre marquee featuring 1,126 LED lightbulbs (tickets will be for sale in all of the state-of-the-art methods available today as well)
  • Movie memorabilia from the theatre's heyday decorates the walls as you enter the spacious reception/lobby area, where you can purchase locally sourced snacks and traditional movie-going fare at the restored concession stand
  • It's showtime! The curtain is drawn to reveal a 32-foot main screen with a perfect view from every seat in the house
  • You and up to 433 other guests sit comfortably in new seating designed for space, comfort, and accessibility
  • If you need it, a fully accessible bathroom is available on this level

Ashland Schine's Theatre Marquee

When films aren't being shown, the expanded stage area can be reconfigured for live performances, with a dressing room behind the stage for a quiet, pre-performance space for the talent. Spaces for theatre staff and volunteers will also be located on the main floor.

Second Floor Mezzanine

  • Find your seat on the second floor mezzanine through the mezzanine lobby, with bathrooms accessed off of the lobby
  • The mezzanine accommodates a total of 98 guests
  • Choose from two films on this level—the space will be divided by a soundproofing corridor to create two separate viewing areas of 49 seats per side, each with its own retractable screen
  • Come for the big blockbuster or live performance and watch with the main floor audience—the second floor screens are retractable, so everyone seated in this area will be able to enjoy films or performances taking place on the lower level

The second level will also include the audio-visual equipment room and storage.

Current Progress

Work on the exterior of the building was completed in December 2020, repurposing the original materials and parts (depending on their condition) and using new materials that offered a reasonable facsimile of the 1940s architectural style.

Final interior renovations are in process and contingent upon meeting our fundraising goal, to raise $3 million, with a goal to have a grand preview re-opening for donors and supporters of the campaign for Ashland Schine's Theatre on July 4, 2022.

Join the Movement!