Built by the Ackerman Family, "the Covedale" was the most up-to-date thing in post-war cinemas. The Grand Opening, on March 21, 1947 featured fireworks and searchlights in the sky while the original 924 seats were filled to capacity for a showing of Til The End of Time starring Dorothy Maguire. The cartoon feature was Rhapsody Rabbit starring Bugs Bunny.
For nearly thirty years, the Covedale enjoyed a treasured place in the hearts of Cincinnati movie-goers as one of the last great, full-sized neighborhood movie palaces. But in the mid-1970s, face with increasing competition from the multi-screen cinemas, the auditorium was split into two rooms, each showing movies on smaller screens. By the early 1990's, after a time when the Covedale was shut down, the building was renovated into a Cinema Grill, offering second-run movies and a dinner.
In 2001, the second Cinema Grill operation closed for good but a campaign to save the Covedale and revive it as the Center for the Performing Arts began to catch fire. Thanks to community groups, the City of Cincinnati and numerous foundations and individuals, the Cincinnati Young People's Theatre was able to purchase the Covedale and begin renovations. In only two short months (May 24 to July 26) a small army of volunteers, contractors, and construction experts removed the dividing walls and movie screens, redesigned the seating, built a stage and sets, installed technical equipment and brought the Covedale back to life.
Now, after the grand opening production of our teen theatre project, West Side Story in 2002, the Covedale has once again undergone an amazing transformation. We've added seats to bring capacity to nearly 400. We've upgraded all our systems and continue to restore the "Miracle on Glenway" to a professional theatre and performing arts center.