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Sycamore State Theater Enters Its Next 'Stage'

Jenna Dooley

The Sycamore State Theater has reopened, and after almost 100 years of life, it certainly isn’t going anywhere.

The building, which opened in 1925, has been home to vaudeville shows, bands, movies and even a church. Now after much anticipation, the three-screen cinema is up and running again. The new theater owner, Makie Maratos, has a rich history with movies.

“Movies have always been a part of my life for a long time. My mother was a manager at a movie gallery for a couple of years, and we had free rentals all the time. So that was, I think, where the love for movies started," Maratos said.

The newly re-opened Sycamore State Theater.
Jenna Dooley
The newly reopened Sycamore State Theater.

During his time in Sycamore, Maratos has learned how important the theater is to the town.

“I'm local in the area, and the mayor said that this place was a number one concern of his and everybody's been so thankful that we've stayed open," Maratos said. "Everybody comes in, and they talk about how they remember when it was one big theater at some point.”

Maratos is committed to keeping the building just as it has always been.

“When we took it over, I realized that this is not just some building or someplace that we can knock down and remodel. This has history,” he said.

Maratos also has some big plans for showings down the road, “We want to put a live stage in one of the one of the theaters and start a, whether it's our community theater or rent it out for other local artists to use the space in whatever way they need.”

Maratos suggests for the building to be a place where young people can express themselves and their talents — where his 18 year-old self would love to be.

“I really want to make this a place where young adults or high schoolers can come and have a stage for them or have some way for them to put on their art whether that's you know, paintings or that's singing, dancing, acting,” Maratos said.

Most importantly, he hopes that the theater is full of new films and ideas, but also what the community wants.

While he spoke, Maratos gestured towards the back wall: “There's a great quote on the wall from one of the old bills that says 'this is your theater, Sycamore, and we're here to just maintain it for you', and I really, really like that because I think that's you know, if I lived by that model then I'll be busy. I won’t have a problem.”

However, running a theater in a hundred-year-old building might have some downsides — particularly the chance of unexpected "residents."

“I don't think it's haunted. And if it is, I'm a nice guy, and I'll work it out with whoever's here, and we'll have a good time. I'm sure he's glad to have somebody back in the building, you know, over the past year or so, so we're gonna work it out" Maratos said. "But I'm definitely a big chicken. So I'll be running down the hallway when I leave at night probably.”

But his spirit of excitement to get the theatre moving again overshadows any fears Maratos might have of prospective spirits.

“For me, it's kind of almost a dream, a dream fulfilled. And I don't, I don't need anything else. I'm good," Maratos eagerly said.

Vani Subramony is a graduate of Sycamore High School. She attends Case Western Reserve University studying cognitive science and music.