Southern Theatre

21 E. Main Street,
Columbus, OH 43215

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Showing 18 comments

dallasmovietheaters on January 14, 2017 at 5:10 am

Attributed architects as Yost & Packard of Dayton

TLSLOEWS on January 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Great history of this theatre,good to see it still open.

albabewick on January 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm

If you live in or visit Columbus, this theatre boasts wonderful acoustics. I have seen various types of live performance here over the last 15 years: small-scale musicals, chamber music, full orchestras, rock music and was lucky enough to have seen the Lynn Redgrave performance in “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 2006. It is also a very beautiful theatre, perhaps the most tasteful and elegant in all of Columbus. Take someone you love to hear good music in a lovely setting!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 23, 2010 at 8:17 pm

how did it get reduced by half?

Mark_L on October 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm

The current seating in the Southern is 925, according to the CAPA website.

mack on August 7, 2008 at 3:17 am

I’m pretty sure I saw “Robinson Crusoe On Mars” at this theatre during a Saturday matinee on August 22, 1964 as listed in the Columbus Dispatch. It might be one of my first movie going memories. A great movie that my two older brothers took me to via the bus to downtown. I still remember waiting on that bus after the movie in Kreskie’s (spell check) store and seeing/smelling that great pizza in their case that I couldn’t afford! If I only had a time machine… zman

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 9, 2007 at 10:31 am

The Great Southern Theatre in Columbus is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. The lessees were the Valentine Company; Lee M. Boda was Manager. Seating capacity was 1,900 and admission prices ranged from 25 cents to $1.50. There was both gas and electric illumination. The proscenium opening was 34 feet square, and the stage was 52 feet deep. The theatre was on the ground floor and there were 10 members of the house orchestra. Other roadshow theatres in Columbus in 1897 were the Grand Opera House and the High Street Theatre. There were 4 newspapers at the time and 7 hotels which catered to show people. The 1897 population of Columbus was 130,000. I visited the Southern Theatre with a THSA group in mid-2000 and it was very beautifully restored and well worth seeing.

kencmcintyre on September 15, 2006 at 4:45 pm

This 1983 photo shows the entrance of the theater prior to renovation:

Patsy on May 20, 2006 at 7:08 am

Lost Memory: I plan to make a trip to Columbus this summer so will take you up on that excellent trip suggestion. I always make a point of calling ahead so I can tour the theatre as someone is usually kind enough to meet me and the hubby.

Patsy on May 20, 2006 at 6:48 am

Lost Memory: Great photo so Columbus has this one and the Ohio!

Patsy on May 7, 2006 at 3:47 am

Columbus is very fortunate to have both the Southern and the Ohio! The curved design around the stage looks alot like the curved design in RCMH! Thanks Ron for introducing me to this theatre!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 15, 2006 at 3:46 am

Last Sunday’s Columbus Dispatch has an article on this theatre:

Versatile Southern offers great space for any show

The article says that last weekend’s Sir Peter Hall production of The Importance of Being Earnest, starring Lynn Redgrave, would not have played Columbus were it not for the Southern.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 21, 2005 at 5:09 am

For many years ending in the 1970s, WMNI radio broadcast the “Country Cavalcade” show live from the Southern Theatre.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 9, 2005 at 3:31 am

For at least some short time in the early 1970s, the Southern was renamed the Towne Cinema. An advertisement in the Columbus Dispatch in late December, 1972, announced the new name, as well as a new policy of first-run films. The first movie booked under the new name and policy was the blaxploitation film Trouble Man.

I don’t know how long the new name and policy lasted, but by 1975, it was back to the Southern Theatre, once again showing second- or third-run double features.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 7, 2005 at 8:56 am

The adjoining Great Southern Hotel has unfortunately been renamed the Westin. The hotel looks fine, but this insensitive renaming destroys a treasured bit of Columbus history.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 11, 2005 at 3:51 am

The Columbus Metropolitan Library’s online historic photo collection has several pictures of the Southern Theatre.

Auditorium interior and lobby. Click on thumbnails to see full-size photos.

Three exterior photos, from 1903, 1951 (Day the Earth Stood Still plus Blazing Sun), and 1978 (Bruce Lee double-feature: Fists of Fury and Chinese Connection). Click on thumbnails to see full-size photos.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 9, 2004 at 6:31 am

By the 1960s and 70s this had become a third-run movie house. It was the last movie screen remaining in downtown Columbus when it closed.