Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater Reflects New Albany's Farmland to Suburb Evolution

The Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater enters the spotlight.

Chris Gaitten and Lily Roby
The Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater

In 1980, just a few short years before Les Wexner and Jack Kessler began rolling out ambitious plans for the village, New Albany’s population hovered around 400. Today, every single one of those residents would fit inside the suburb’s brand-new amphitheater. Twice over, in fact.

The Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater reflects New Albany’s evolution from farmland to tony suburb. After years of planning and design, it is ready for its big reveal at an Aug. 31 dedication ceremony, which includes two hours of free performances by Central Ohio groups. The New Albany Symphony Orchestra kicks off its new season there on Sept. 10 with music from movies such as “Harry Potter” and “Titanic,” and then on Sept. 23 the venue will host its first major show, a benefit featuring “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. to raise money for future programming.

The amphitheater was constructed in New Albany’s Village Center, decked out in ivy and set against the backdrop of the newly developed Rose Run Park. It stands next to the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, and its 800-person capacity mirrors that of the center’s auditorium. It will serve as the McCoy’s open-air complement, so the venues can host music, film and theater festivals, according to The New Albany Community Foundation, which led the amphitheater initiative. It was funded in part by Charleen Hinson, whose late husband, Charlie, was an early leader in Wexner’s L Brands empire.

Scott McAfee, New Albany’s chief communications and marketing officer, emphasizes that the amphitheater bolsters a true town center for the suburb, allowing easy access to the McCoy, the Heit Center, Market Square, the school district’s learning campus and more. “Our community colors are very much alive and well in this,” McAfee says.