The Requiem Project is The Revival of Cincinnati's Emery Theatre: Art Moves Here
The process to restore the previously dark and dormant Emery Theatre, while well under-way, is one that continually involves strategic planning, financial investment, and the commitment of diverse experts in the fields of the arts, architecture, cultural planning, and fundraising. Prior to a public announcement of the re-opening of The Emery, The Requiem Project spent three years developing the plans and specific steps to ensure operational sustainability of Cincinnati’s Carnegie Hall.
Structuring the Company:
In 2008, The Requiem Project—the site-specific, not-for-profit organization managing the revival and programming of The Emery—was formed to save the long-shuttered Emery Theatre from demise. On November 11, 2008, The Requiem Project began the process of procuring a long-term contract to restore and operate the theatre in furtherance of the company’s values, mission, and vision.
Concurrent to the development of this long-term contract, a viable business plan for sustainable operation was created and an international Advisory Board was formed: the company's Advisory Board is comprised of cultural planners, Broadway producers, arts advocates, educators, and leaders from organizations such as The Public Theatre New York, Trinity Rep., The League of Historic American Theatres, The Woodrow Wilson Foundation, New York University, and Brown.
Upon the signing of the long-term contract in September 2010, the company began to prepare for a public announcement of the plans for the revival of The Emery. On November 11, 2011, the one hundred year anniversary of Mary Emery’s dedication of the theatre, The Requiem Project opened The Emery with a large-scale event: 11.11.11, a Preview of The Emery.
Public Awareness: Announcement of the Revival Plans
The intention of 11.11.11 was to publicly signify the artistic and economic value of The Emery through partnerships with other arts organizations and local businesses.
In anticipation of 11.11.11, the company contracted two architecture firms to assess the most viable way to adapt the entire historic space for contemporary use as an interdisciplinary arts center without disrupting the structure and pure acoustics of the theatre: John Senhauser Architects (senhauserarchitects.com) and Westlake Reed and Leskosky (wrldesign.com). After months of scouring the building with architects, engineers, theatre experts, and preservationists, the renderings and plans were developed specifically to share with the audience on November 11, 2011.
11.11.11, a sold-out event, was headlined by hometown music legends Over the Rhine and featured dance, visual arts exhibitions, music, musicians from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (the original tenant of The Emery), the involvement of over 150 artists, arts organizations, neighboring businesses, and close to 200 volunteers.
11.11.11 was only the beginning.
Year of Programming: What Can Happen Here
Currently operating with short-term, limited permission to be open, The Requiem Project is curating programs that represent the company's aesthetic, programmatic, and educational vision.
Since the theatre has been closed for many years and there are no recent managers of the theatre to tell us everything we need to know for the best possible operations, we are spending 2012 continuing our quest to learn more about this amazing space.
2012 has included wonderful artistic and educational events with companies such as Exhale Dance Tribe, Origami Experimental Music Ensemble, Starfire U., a Final Friday sponsored by Christian Moerlein, Emery Session video recordings, and the releases of Daniel Martin Moore and Ric Hordinski newest albums.
Looking ahead, we will be a home for a Cincinnati Film Festival showing, Mid-Point Music Festival, and FotoFocus. The Requiem Project: The Emery will also produce the national revival of Bill Frisell's Disfarmer Project and has partnership programs with The Contemporary Arts Center, Exhale Dance Tribe and concert:nova.