Few community theaters left operating in Maine, New Hampshire

posted by CSWalczak on December 4, 2009 at 9:38 am

PORTSMOUTH, NH — The closing of the Strand in Dover, NH is sadly only the latest in a long series of community theater closing that have left the seacoast towns of Maine and New Hampshire with almost none of their original theaters still showing films. A recent article by Gina Carbone details the losses over the years, the struggle of the survivors to keep going, and the value of community cinemas.

“What is their future? I doubt they have one,” Detzler said. “Most every independent operator I know of is either closed, planning to close, or planning to redevelop. I cannot name names but the list of closed theaters in New Hampshire will continue to grow. … The fast pace of technological change, the business environment and customer expectations are too much for small operators to keep up with.”

Even so, as some local theaters fall, others are holding on or even being born — operating as nonprofits, diversifying programming beyond just films, or turning to the technology that’s killing others and trying to make it work for them.

Read more in Seacoast Online.

Theaters in this post

Comments (2)

nhu on December 7, 2009 at 9:56 am

“Even so, as some local theaters fall, others are holding on or even being born — operating as nonprofits…..”

As mentioned in this article going the non-profit route seems to be a growing trend for local, mostly single-screen, movie theaters. How does that work? I know the laws regarding non-profits vary from state to state. How does becoming a non-profit allow a movie theater to stay in business? They still have big bills to pay.

danpetitpas on December 8, 2009 at 10:53 am

Non-profits can accept donations, which can subsidize the bills. Businesses cannot. So non-profits can generate additional income in this way and not have to just rely on ticket and concession sales.

Non-profits can have fund-raising events, get grants from local government or other non-profits, get special pricing from equipment dealers, and so on. Also people who donate get a tax deduction, so that’s helpful to them too.

The drawback to being a non-profit is the former owner becomes an employee of the non-profit entity with usually a board of directors who oversee things. The former owner therefore can be replaced by the board during a power struggle or a change of direction.

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