Adventures in Akron: Nightlight Cinema

Don’t expect to find the latest superhero flick on the marquee of the Nightlight Cinema in downtown Akron.

Don’t expect to find the latest superhero flick on the marquee of the Nightlight Cinema in downtown Akron.

The Nightlight is a theater with a mission—the nonprofit was established in 2014 to “advance cinema and community in tandem.” That charge is what makes the Nightlight noticeably different than other theaters, said executive director Kurtiss Hare via email.

The single screen theater shows indie, foreign and art films; the kind you typically wouldn’t find in Northeast Ohio, Hare said.

Curating those films is a process. The theater usually shows first-run movies. “After that, it’s a matter of balancing two factors—first, the degree to which we believe a film will play well to our audience given all the ways they’ve signaled their taste to us over time, and second, the degree to which we believe it’s important for this film to be seen in our area,” Hare said.

The process sounds procedural, but it’s rewarding to see audiences delighted by the films, he added.

The theater also holds special event screenings—it hosted some showings during the Cleveland International Film Festival and had a charity screening of Purple Rain in May.

The Nightlight experience doesn’t stop at the screen. The theater has a fully-stocked bar and concession stand with Ohio craft beers. And it often creates signature cocktails for special event showings.

The theater also has a loveseat tucked into the very back row and a front row of super comfy couches offering plenty of incentives to arrive early, grab a drink and snag a seat.

Before every showing, a Nightlight employee introduces the audience to the film.

“…We like to create a more intimate and personal atmosphere than you would find at other cinemas,” Hare said.

Similar places: None Too Fragile Theater

Summit Art Space

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