Oberlin College goes Hollywood with purchase of vintage movie theater that draws help from stars

Hollywood and TV actress lends support to Oberlin

OBERLIN, Ohio - It is usually quiet in quaint Oberlin. However in a big way, both the city and the college that are vital parts of this Northeast Ohio community have gone Hollywood, at least for a while. 

Some of the stardom of Hollywood swept into Oberlin as the college opened the doors to its newest acquisition: the Apollo Theatre.

Since 1913, the Apollo has flashed its marquee in the center of the small community in Lorain County. There was considerably more flash when Hollywood and television actress Rhea Perlman helped cut the ribbon in the grand opening of the $6 million renovation of theater, now owned by the college and run by Cleveland Cinemas.  

Aside from the showings of movies, part of the theater complex will be devoted to classrooms for Oberlin students studying cinema production.

"Part of our mission is to create exciting visual and performing arts activities and this is very much a part of that mission," said Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov, sweeping his arms proudly over the theater seating.

Perlman and her husband, actor Danny DeVito, donated money to the project, as did "Silence of the Lambs" director Jonathan Demme, whose son and daughter attended Oberlin College. Perlman and Demme were special guests at the grand opening of the renovated theater.

"Wow," said Perlman as she spoke to a full house of guests at the grand opening. The Apollo Theater opened its doors in 1913. It's historic art deco style was maintained by the workers, who transformed the theater into an up-do-date showplace with equipment able to show any type of movie.

The upstairs part of the theater will be largely devoted to classrooms where Oberlin cinema students can learn the art of making movies, both featured and documentary. 

"You can go upstairs as a student and learn how to make films and tell your own stories and show them on the screen," said Rian Brown, professor of Oberlin's cinema studies.

Professor Geoff Pingree noted there is a facility for high school students from throughout Lorain County and other communities to venture into moviemaking.  Next door to the theater is a theater outreach facility for younger students.

"We want to work with kids in schools to make their own videos, to tell their own stories," said Pingree.

OberlinCollegeeven plans to have tributes to the makers of silent films in the early days of the 20th century. There will be special showings of silent film classics, where musicians from Oberlin will provide the live music in the theater.

"It's going to be a great opportunity for the cinema people, the music people, for the history people, for everybody," Krislov said.  Film is something that cuts across all the traditional boundaries."

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Related Stories

Student: racist postings at Oberlin College a Student: racist postings at Oberlin College a 'joke'

A police report says a student at a historically liberal Ohio college took credit for some racist fliers earlier this year, calling them a joke meant to get an overreaction.

Oberlin College: FBI to investigate bias incidents Oberlin College: FBI to investigate bias incidents

Oberlin College says the FBI has agreed to investigate possible bias incidents at the historically liberal college.

Racial episodes shake Ohio Racial episodes shake Ohio's Oberlin College

Scrawls of racially offensive graffiti and, more recently, a report of someone wearing what looked like a Ku Klux Klan-type hooded robe on campus have shaken students at historically liberal Oberlin College.

'Girls' star Lena Dunham tweets about Oberlin College's racism troubles

Lena Dunham is urging her fellow "Obies" to stick together as her alma mater in Ohio wrestles with reports of racism.

Oberlin authorities investigate hate-related incidents, man wearing KKK attire near college campus Oberlin authorities investigate hate-related incidents, man wearing KKK attire near college campus

Oberlin authorities are looking for a suspicious man reportedly seen wearing a hood and robe that resembles a KKK outfit on the Oberlin College campus.

Students challenge Oberlin College over no trespassing policy Students challenge Oberlin College over no trespassing policy

Oberlin College students challenge the school over a no trespassing list the school says doesn't exist.

Students protest Oberlin College Students protest Oberlin College's 'no trespass' list

Students are speaking out against a secret "no trespass" list maintained by their northern Ohio college.

Oberlin College goes Hollywood with purchase of vintage movie theater that draws help from stars Oberlin College goes Hollywood with purchase of vintage movie theater that draws help from stars

Oberlin College's purchase of 99-year-old movie theater creates buzz among Hollywood stars and among students studying movie-making.

Students find deals at private colleges; Cleveland student with good grades going to Oberlin College Students find deals at private colleges; Cleveland student with good grades going to Oberlin College

Some students are finding they can attend an expensive, private college with fewer out-of-pocket dollars than a state school.