A Look Inside the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts

After much anticipation, planning, fundraising and renovating, Findlay area residents can rejoice over the long-awaited opening of the $18 million Marathon Center for the Performing Arts (MCPA)! The new performing arts center kicked off its opening season with “The Toy Shoppe” in December and has a great lineup of shows coming this winter and spring. The historic Central Middle School auditorium, which originally served as Findlay High School, has a whole new look and feel with an impressive performance space, thanks to donations, volunteers and city wide fundraising efforts. Located in downtown Findlay, this 55,770 square-foot, world-class performing arts center is sure to be enjoyed for generations to come.

A Brief History

The Hancock County Performing Arts Center, a non-profit organization, started a committee in 2012 to open a multi-purpose performing arts center in Findlay. Engaging the community, launching a capital campaign and choosing a historical building site close to downtown, the vision became a reality in December of 2015 with a celebratory Gala Opening. We are now reaping the benefits of the vision, hard work and dedication of many generous people and organizations.

Preserving the past, with the renovation of Central Middle School, was just as important as anticipating the future during the design process, completed by RCM architects.

“The auditorium has been painstakingly cleaned and painted to restore the iconic art deco stylings that were in fashion when the building was first dedicated as Findlay High School in 1923-24. In the old lobby, we also restored the beautiful marble walls and terrazzo flooring. MCPA’s logo, designed by Suzanne Frankenberg, was inspired by the retained metal work of the original lobby railing,” explains Kathleen Stacy, Marketing Director for MCPA.

Actors re-enact a portion of The Toy Shoppe for videotaping of a new DVD, for which the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts was selected.

The New Donnell Theater: Where Performances Take Place

The Thomas, Kathleen and William Donnell Theater boasts seating for 960 where audience members will enjoy a completely modernized and renovated  art deco style theater. 

“Improvements include new carpeting and flooring, fewer but more comfortable seats with more legroom, seating to accommodate American with Disabilities Act access, and state of the art sound and lighting technology. 

A view of the opening set of The Toy Shoppe, first act to take the stage of the newly-opened Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.

“On the left and right walls of the main floor, art deco light sconces, salvaged from a 1939 Brooklyn theater ,were added. Backstage provides an impressive, expanded stage house that is high enough and deep enough to accommodate scenery and lighting technology that today’s Broadway and other national touring shows require,” said Stacy.

Community members gather and meet the cast after the performance of The Toy Shoppe in the grand atrium of The Marathon Performing Arts Center.

Additional Spaces: The Event Hall, Atrium and Art Gallery

The Roy and Marcia Armes Event Hall, another space within the new center, is designed for receptions, meetings, recitals and smaller performances. The breathtaking grand entrance, the Gary and Jane Heminger Atrium, features full glass walls and a 1939 art deco chandelier. Overlooking the atrium is the Gardner Family Lounge, a great place to grab refreshments before a show. 

A partial view of The Fisher Wall Art Gallery, featuring work from Hancock County area artists.

The Fisher Wall Art Gallery features work from Hancock County area artists, displayed before shows, during intermission and during ticket office hours. All spaces are available to rent for corporate and social events as well.

Shows the Whole Family will Love

It’s always fun to see the wonder and amazement in a child’s eyes as they watch performances full of music, dancing and talent. Several family-friendly shows are lined up for this opening season. This February, in Toledo Symphony Celebrates the Oscars! Stacy comments that “parents and kids will recognize and love the music from Up!, Frozen, Beauty and The Beast, and Star Wars, while grandparents will relive memories through music from classic films like West Side Story, The Seahawk, The Wizard of Oz, and many others.” 

Performers of The Toy Shoppe greet the public after the show.

Bring your tiny dancer or fairytale fanatic to the Moscow Festival Ballet: Cinderella, in March where they can see talented lead dancers from Russia retell the classic story through ballet. In April, Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience is a show your family won’t want to miss put on by the family of Chris, Suhey and Anthony Perondi. 

“All of the dogs featured in their shows have been rescued from pounds and shelters from across the country and the Perondi team uses only positive training methods to develop each dog’s unique ability, athleticism, and intelligence.  Anyone who has owned, trained, and loved dogs will enjoy this amazing, fun and truly inspirational show for all ages,” Stacy said.

One thing is certain— a visit to at the new Marathon Center for the Performing Arts will be a wonderful experience for your family, an outing to remember.

The Marathon Center for the Performing Arts is located at 200 W. Main Cross St. in Findlay
Tickets for shows can be purchased at the ticket office or at marathoncenterarts.org
For more information call 419-423-2787