About six years ago, the owners of Over-the-Rhine’s oft-frequented MOTR
began looking for a larger space for concerts. And they found one right across the street: the Woodward Theater
“When we brought MOTR to OTR, we wanted to insert the local music community into the arts and culture discussion in Cincinnati,” says MOTR co-owner Dan McCabe. “By expanding across the street, that discussion gets a little louder.”
MOTR has been the OTR hotspot for free music for the past few years, and the Woodward will help attract larger bands that are too big to play MOTR. The concerts at the Woodward will be ticketed, with advance tickets available.
“We want to see people from outside Cincinnati to see what OTR is,” says McCabe. “Musicians that play the Woodward will be coming from cities like New York, where the cost of living is high. They might consider relocating to Cincinnati, which has a great support base for musicians and the platform to build a crowd base. It’s also centrally located for touring.”
The Woodward’s new owners also want it to be used as more than a music venue. “I’d love to show films and host private events too,” says McCabe. “OTR is an event-driven neighborhood, and we want the Woodward to be a resource to the community.”
The Woodward has been used in recent years as an antiques warehouse, and hasn’t been an active storefront for a long time, says McCabe. In the next few weeks, construction will begin on the theater’s façade, including getting the lights on the outside working.
McCabe and his business partners are still working on plans for the inside. “We basically have a white box on the inside with a balcony, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
This year is the Woodward’s 100th
birthday—it opened on June 18, 1913. The guys of MOTR have a big event planned for the building’s birthday, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more information.
By Caitlin Koenig
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