These Photos From An Abandoned Theater Are Beyond Eerie


In Cleveland, OH there is an abandoned theater that once hosted some of the rock and roll greats. It was closed and abandoned for nearly 30 years — until now.


The Variety Theater was built in 1927 and was one of the largest single screen movie theaters in Cleveland. In its heyday, the stage played host to bands like Metallica, the Dead Kennedy's, R.E.M and Motörhead.

Motörhead took the stage on December 2, 1984. The music was so loud a piece of the ceiling crumbled, dropping plaster on the audience. A judge ordered the theater closed in 1986, and it's been closed ever since. 

Photographer Seph Lawless released a series of photos capturing the eeriness of the abandoned theater in his book "The Variety Theater... The Night Motörhead Brought Down the House." Partial proceeds from the book go to restoring the theater to its former glory. 

"The old ornate ceilings that rise hundreds of feet above you remind you of how small you are," Lawless told A Plus. "Being inside can be extraordinarily intimidating but hauntingly beautiful at the same time." 

The photographer thinks The Variety Theater represents a more musically and architecturally rich time. "People don't listen to rock and roll anymore. They're too busy listening to drum machines that have no soul usually inside modern music venues with architecture that is so cold and boring. This was a time when art was literally all around you from the ceiling down to the wooden intricate theater seating," Lawless said.

The Variety Theater remains an artifact frozen in time, but thanks to Lawless we get a glimpse into its haunting past. 

More From A Plus


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.