New Lease on Life: The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati Prepares to Move to the Emery

After a long vacancy, the Emery Theater is set to welcome performers back to its historic stage. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) recently held a press conference to announce their plans to move into the 112-year-old theater.

This move will allow TCT to expand its annual production schedule beyond the 40 days currently allowed within their home in the Taft Theatre, enabling the theater to expand their programming and produce more original works.

It will also preserve a rare, theater-style, symphonic concert hall – one of only four in the United States – that has hosted the likes of George Gershwin, Bette Davis, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

“Restoring the Emery for theatrical use has long been a challenge,” says GBBN Associate Principal, Steve Karoly. “Because the size and configuration of the stage was originally designed for an orchestra, it did not have the depth or wing space of a traditional theatrical stage. We had to develop some innovative solutions—such as using a large video screen at the back of the stage to create depth and using a large lift to access the basement for quick scene changes—to overcome that challenge.”

“Working within the constraints of a historic theater like this has been really rewarding,” observes GBBN Director of Arts, Marcene Kinney. “This will not only be a space that weaves together different historical moments, but it will also be a space that welcomes children. So, the design is really embracing whimsy and illusion as we create a fully immersive environment that brings the magic of the theater beyond the bounds of the stage.”

In anticipation of their move, TCT is hosting a family-friendly block party on Saturday, April 29. Learn about it here.

Read more about The Children’s Theatre’s plans at the Cincinnati Enquirer, WVXU, City Beat, Cincinnati Business Courier, or Broadway World.

Interested in GBBN’s work in the arts? Read about the Cincinnati Ballet’s Margaret & Michael Valentine Center for Dance, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Otto M Budig Theater, or Pittsburgh’s Contemporary Craft.

Read more about Marcene Kinney and Steve Karoly.