Encore at the Emery
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, Emery Theater Renovation
To Project Types
Cincinnati, OH | 85,000 SF
The theater is a space of dreams, magic, and imagination. It transports guests to distant pasts and futures, to scenes that are both far-flung and familiar. This makes it fitting that The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) found its new home in the century-old Emery Theater in Downtown Cincinnati.
The Emery was not only TCT’s home from 1949-1969, but its beautifully ornamented historic fabric will be woven together with distinctly modern technology to produce an immersive, ever-changing experience. The aim is to cultivate childlike wonder long before the curtain rises. An expanded lobby will echo features of the historic box office and marble-lined foyer, mingling the building’s antique interiors with neon signs, color-changing walls, and theatrical props.
Designed for symphonic music, the Emery’s stage lacks the wide wings and depth that dramatic theaters typically require. This is part of the reason it had fallen into disuse in recent years. To overcome this challenge, the renovation makes use of technology—notably, an oversized LED screen at the back of the stage and a 16-foot turntable and stage lift that can complete scene changes from beneath the stage in seconds. Projection mapping will wash the walls in front of the stage in light to create a scene that embraces its audience.
A new home that is also its old one, the Emery Theater renovation will not only allow TCT to expand its programming—allowing more experimentation and original works—but it will extend the life of a historically significant theater that was once declared beyond repair.