Constructed as the Flannigan and Steele Theater in 1927, the Kent Stage is the only remaining downtown theater of its kind in Portage County. The building opened as a movie theater and has entertained audiences in Kent for 82 years. The Western Reserve Folk Arts Association opened up the Kent Stage in 2002 continuing a tradition of providing quality entertainment in Downtown Kent. The Kent Stage has seen performances by Ani DiFranco, Stephen Stills, Tom Paxton, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Bo Diddley, Melanie, Janis Ian, Loudon Wainwright III, Livingston Taylor, Nickel Creek, John Gorka, David Wilcox, Al Stewart, Leo Kottke, Pete Best, Leon Redbone, Vassar Clements, John Cowan, Little Feat, The Kingston Trio, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Riders In The Sky, John McCutcheon, India Aire, Karla Bonoff, Sam Bush, Jonathan Edwards, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, Robin and Linda Williams, the Children's Musical Theater of Kent, and has hosted the Kent Blues Festival, Up From The River Music Festival as well as the Kent State Folk Festival since 2002.
The Western Reserve Folk Arts Association is planning major restorations to the Kent Stage: renovating the entrance to the building, expanding the women's restroom, expanding and improving the backstage area, constructing a handicap accessible restroom, adding a gift store and cafe, replacing the carpeting and restoring the original ceiling in the theater and the foyer and restoring all of the seats in the theater.
The Seating Restoration Project
One of the first projects scheduled for the summer of 2007 is the replacement of all of the chairs in the theater. The proposed design of the seats brings modern seating with a touch of 1927. Seats will be stripped, restored and powder coated with the ends highlighted in gold, and seat identification numerals. Seats will also feature a plaque identifying the person or persons who donated the seat. click for more information
The Kent Stage is operated by the Western Reserve Folk Arts Association, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit corporation. The Western Reserve Folk Arts Association was created to preserve and support traditional music and arts through education, concerts, festivals, outreach programs and workshops. The Western Reserve Folk Arts Association provides individuals and organizations opportunities for exposure and participation in these activities within the region.