Shea's Theatre

4632 Main Avenue,
Ashtabula, OH 44004

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Shea Theatres

Architects: Michael J. DeAngelis

Functions: Senior Center

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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Shea's Theatre

The Shea’s Theatre was attempting a comeback thanks to dedicated locals who, in 2001, are looking to restore and reopen the classic neighborhood movie house.

Originally opened in 1949, the theatre will serve as Ashtabula’s civic center and could possibly seat over 1,500 people. Famed actor, Mickey Rooney, performed at the nearby Edgewood Auditorium in April 2001 in a benefit performance for the theatre.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Tampopo on April 27, 2010 at 11:53 pm

I saw this earlier today (favorite Husker Du song, and maybe one of my favorite songs ever). I bring this up because at 1:50 you’ll see the Shea’s marquee up and running in all it’s retro neon-and-chasers glory

TLSLOEWS on April 28, 2010 at 12:37 am

Good luck Tamara A.

milanp on December 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I remember going to the Shea back when I was a kid. My family vacationed every summer at nearby Geneva-on-the-Lake, and Ashtabula wasn’t too far away. The theater was impressively grand like so many old theaters of its era (including several in downtown Youngstown).
Among the many films I saw there were “The Lion in Winter” (in 1969), and a double-feature of “Willard” and “10 Rillington Place” (in 1971).

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm

A book in the Images of America series, Ashtabula: People and Places, by Evelyn Schaeffer and Richard E. Stoner (Google Books preview), has about a dozen photos related to Shea’s Theatre.

The book says that the senior center occupies the former lobby of the theater, which is a good-sized space in a building built in 1927 and converted for theater use when the auditorium was built behind it in 1949. The auditorium itself has apparently been dark since 1982, when the house closed after about six years of operation by a local nonprofit group.

rfassett on January 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Shea’s Theater is near and dear to my heart. I began working there as an usher in 1968 and soon moved to doorman. A young lady began working the candy stand in 1969 and although we were not immediately attracted to each other because we each had other “irons in the fire”, we did eventually fall in love and will celebrate our 40th year wedding anniversary this year. If it were not for Shea’s we may never have met. Thanks Shea’s Theater. You will always be near and dear to me.

50sSNIPES on June 30, 2019 at 7:59 pm

I Notice Ashtabula Had A Drive-In Previously Called The Shea’s Midway Drive-In Theatre Near The Ashtabula And Conneaut Border.

maryjo4021 on December 19, 2019 at 9:53 pm

I worked at the Shea’s in the early 50’s as an usher as well as the Palace, Bula, and State. I think I made 50 cents per hour. Great place to start at 15. I road my bike from Saybrook sometimes getting home after midnight on the Saturday night preview. Thank you for the memorys.

fabulousfubby on May 22, 2022 at 4:30 pm

The theatre is still sitting abandoned as of 2022, the inside is crumbling really bad and I believe water has gotten inside since it smelled pretty moldy from the outside, very sad and I hope someone gives the building some love before it’s too late.

Trolleyguy on August 26, 2023 at 1:41 pm

New owner of the theatre has big plans

fabulousfubby on January 5, 2024 at 4:43 pm

The theatre is planning on getting refurbished and hopefully will open as a performing arts theater if plans work out.

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