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Clyde Theatre Lives Up to the Vision

June 7th, 2018

The Resurrection in Fort Wayne's Quimby Village

Renovation just doesn’t seem an adequate word to describe the transformation of the Clyde Theatre. Resurrection might be more fitting.

The theatre on Bluffton Road, in Fort Wayne’s Quimby Village shopping center, screened hit films from its opening in 1951 until 1993, when it was closed, abandoned and left to languish in decay. In 2010, though, Rick Kinney drove by it and saw the potential to realize his dream of creating the perfect venue.  

Today the Clyde is a completely renewed, vibrant theatre; not for movies, but for live music performances, from metal to jazz to country and other genres.

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“I’ve played drums for bands across the country, done audio engineering at concerts, and been the technical director for the Embassy (another Fort Wayne theatre), so I knew what worked when you put a show together,” Kinney says. “And I knew what bands wished they had. I wanted to bring the best of everything together to make concerts a great experience for people attending and for the musicians.”

The result is a beautiful 21,000 square-foot concert hall with standing room to accommodate 2,200 attendees, a two-story lobby, bar service, VIP balcony and lounge areas.

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Plus, Kinney’s vison to provide bands what they need is sure to bring performers back to play again: backstage areas where semis can pull right into the building to unload instruments and equipment, a solid cement stage, comfortable green rooms to relax in, state-of-the-art light and sound equipment and amazing acoustics. Design input from the audio engineer recommended by Chuck Surack, founder and president of Sweetwater, ensured optimal sound.

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Surack and his wife Lisa were among the investors Kinney lined up to help him purchase the Clyde in 2012. A $1 million grant from the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) as part of the Regional Cities Initiative was significant in making the purchase and $5 million renovation a reality. MSKTD & Associates was hired as the project architect and Hagerman Construction served as the construction manager. Construction began in summer 2017.

With the grand opening and first concert in May 2018, life returned to the theatre, two and a half decades after it had gone dark.

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In addition to the standing-room concerts, Kinney plans to make the theatre available for art exhibits and events like wedding receptions and corporate meetings. Most significantly, though, he feels a sense of satisfaction in bringing music to the area in a type of venue more likely to be found in places like Chicago and St. Louis.

Kinney is excited about Northeast Indiana’s booming arts and music scene and the energy it’s creating. “There are great things happening,” he says, “and I know the Clyde will play an important role in the growth of this region.”

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