Madstone Centrum

2781 Euclid Heights Boulevard,
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Landmark Theatres (USA)

Architects: Albert F. Janowitz

Functions: Church, Live Performances, Recording Studio

Previous Names: Heights Theater, Heights Art Theater, Coventry Cinema, Centrum, Big Dog Theatre

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News About This Theater

Madstone Centrum

The Heights Theater was opened around 1920. Beautifully restored and converted from a single screen to a triple screen cinema in 1991-1992. The large screen was capable of showing 70mm. Dolby SR sound was available on all screens. The Madstone Centrum closed on October 1, 2003.

Contributed by Jeffry L. Johnson

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

kencmcintyre on August 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm

This was in the Lincoln (NE) Evening Journal, dated 11/16/59:

Cleveland (AP) â€" Police in suburban Cleveland Heights halted the showing of the French movie, “The Lovers” and arrested the theater manager on a charge of exhibiting an obscene film. The theater was closed and the film was confiscated for evidence against Nico Jacobellis, the manager of the Heights Art Theater. 400 patrons who paid $1.50 each were escorted out and received refunds.

buckguy on December 8, 2009 at 11:35 pm

This originally was the Heights theatre and ran as the “Heights Art Theatre” showing foreign films and independent films during the 50s-70s. They co-booked with the Westwood Arts Theatre in Lakewood and, for awhile with the Continental theatre in East Cleveland. They also did midnight movies and showed porn during the day and at midnight. I recall seeing films as diverse as “King of Hearts” and “Behind the Green Door” there. Mitchell’s Candies, which was next door, still operated a a couple blocks down from the Cedar-Lee.

Eric K.
Eric K. on February 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm

this theater has been renovated and is re-opening as Big Dog Theater on Feb 19, 2011. It is now going to showcase sketch, improv, and standup comedy in the Cleveland area. It is also to be a training facility studio for comedians to take classes and workshops. They even give you the option to rent the auditorium out, so I guess you can still view movies here (but probably just privately) since the theater itself is still intact (you can see pics of it on the website, which I have listed below. Check out the site, for it has more info than I posted).

CSWalczak on February 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm

An article about the comedy club’s opening with a picture of the auditorium: View link

Eric K.
Eric K. on March 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I was at the Centrum last night to see the Cleveland improv comedy troupe Something Dada perform. For those wondering, The theater looks exactly the same inside as when it closed, so nothing was changed. The group performed in front of the screen(curtains were closed so I couldn’t see it) on the stage area.

Eric K.
Eric K. on April 7, 2011 at 12:21 am

I was at the Centrum again on March 27th as part of a improv comedy workshop for a few hrs. I performed on the stage and afterwards I took a peak behind the curtain and the screen is definately still there lol.

David Nedrow
David Nedrow on May 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm

The main floor was converted to a dance club and re-opened in February, 2013, as the “Club Centrum”. It closed later that year in September.

DavidZornig on December 17, 2019 at 10:17 pm

Now serves as City Church on Sundays. Website & Facebook page below.

dallasmovietheaters on July 23, 2021 at 10:09 pm

Best known for a major obscenity case when local officials shut down the Heights Art Theatre for showing the film, “The Lovers" on November 13, 1959. Theater manager Nico Jacobellis showed the French film, landed himself in jail, and his case gravitated on appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964) overturned the Cleveland Heights' suspect enforcement and was one of several cases that led to major changes in obscenity law enforcement in the United States. The case indirectly led to the rise of the porno chic era of motion picture exhibition.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 5, 2024 at 1:49 am

A list of buildings designed by architect Albert F. Janowitz includes the Heights Theatre, a 1919 project. The list also includes the 1924 West Park Theatre, and two 1917 projects listed only under the generic term “Movie Theatre.” These two are both listed in Cleveland and both listed as demolished.

One web page says that the Heights didn’t begin operation until 1922, but I’ve found no corroboration for the claim elsewhere.

The pastor of the church which occupies the theater, Joel Negus, has converted part of the auditorium into a recording studio/performance space, a project begun in 2019. There is a photo of the space on his Facebook page here.

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