The Nightlight Cinema is the smallest movie theater in town – and wants to keep it that way

Brittany Dobish is the artistic director of Akron's only art house movie theater, the Nightlight. Its small size is a big asset when it comes to the unique experience you'll get when watching a movie.

Small but mighty

The Nightlight Cinema is about as far away from your normal big-chain multiplex as you can get. With its one movie screen and forty-six seats, it guarantees that movie-goers are going to have an intimate film-watching experience.

And that’s just how the theater wants to keep it.

Operating as an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater, the Nightlight (3 N. High St, Akron) is free of the pressure to play big blockbuster movies in favor of arthouse, revival or local interest films that will focus on, as they put it, “advancing cinema and community”. Through grants, theater memberships, concession sales and special events, the Nightlight can operate and thrive with the luxury of booking both crowd-pleasing and niche films.

Brittany Dobish is the theater’s artistic director, began her career working alongside John Ewing of the Cleveland Cinematheque. Her love and passion for cinema past and present made her an ideal candidate to head up her own venture, where she works alongside other movie-lovers and board directors to bring the neighborhood something unique.

The small size of the theater is, to Dobish, a wonderful thing when it comes to the overall “experience of cinema”. With no room to “spread out”, the group dynamic of reaction to what plays out onscreen becomes heightened. While you may be able to have a wall-sized 4k screen, with surround sound speakers in every corner, there’s no denying that you can’t replicate the theater experience.

You can see the Nightlight’s calendar of films and events at their website, and hear Dobish talk about the love she has for the theater, and movies in general, in our video above.