When the Covedale Cinema Grill closed in fall 2001, Tim Perrino and the board of directors for the Cincinnati Young People's Theatre saw an opportunity to provide the Cincinnati community with great youth theater. Thanks to the city of Cincinnati, civic organizations and donations from groups and individuals, the group was able to buy the space and begin renovations.

With dozens of volunteers, the group tore down the drywall, built a stage, and installed proper seating. With the help of these volunteers, the former movie theater was transformed into what is now the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, home to the Cincinnati Young People's Theatre and a subscription series performed by local semi-professional actors. After a summer of renovations, the group performed the center's first show, "West Side Story."

The center has attracted many supporters and found success in its first three years. "Our first season we had 800 supporters, and this year we had 1,625. We expect to have 2,000 by next year. It's been exciting," Perrino says.

Perrino attributes this success to what he describes as "the unqualified support of the entire community, civic organizations, and local businesses." Two more waves of renovations increased seating capacity to 400 and revamped the heating, air-conditioning and sprinkler systems.

The group originally started with a teen theater program that will celebrate its 25th year this summer. For teens, this is a chance to show their talent outside of their high schools, to perform 11 shows to sold-out audiences. "These are some of the greatest kids you'll ever work with," says Perrino. Even after 25 years of youth performances, "it's the most exciting thing we do all year."