“oldest surviving theatre in central Ohio”
The oldest surviving theatre in central Ohio and one of the oldest in the state, the Southern Theatre opened in 1896 as part of a performance space and hotel complex on the corner of High and Main Streets. The Southern was designed for theatrical touring productions and later accommodated silent films, vaudeville, first- and second-run motion pictures, dance, country music reviews, and community events. Over its stage life, the Southern hosted performing celebrities, including singer Lillian Russell, actors Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, Maude Adams, Sarah Bernhardt, dancers Anna Pavlova and Isadora Duncan, John Philip Sousa, Al Jolson, George M. Cohan, Mae West, and W.C. Fields. Closed in 1979, the theatre was gifted to CAPA in 1986. In 1998, following an intensive, 14-month CAPA-led restoration, the 925-seat jewel-box Southern Theatre reopened as a beautiful, accessible, and lively link to our community's past and its bright future. In addition to CAPA concerts and performances, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Chamber Music Columbus, and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra all call the Southern Theatre stage home.
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