• December 1, 2016

    Medford, OR – Holly Theatre receives $300,000 in new donations


    From the Mail Tribune: Supporters of the restoration of the historic Holly Theatre in downtown Medford announced this week the project has received another $300,000 in donations.

    Fundraising is continuing, with supporters hoping to bring in enough money to launch major construction in the months ahead.

    “I’m excited, because if we’re able to raise about another $500,000 by the end of the year, we’ll be able to start construction in the first quarter of 2017,” said Randy McKay, executive director of Jefferson Live!, the organization in charge of the restoration. “And that means we’ll be able to be open in early 2018 so the community can come back and enjoy this beautiful place that’s been boarded up for the last 30 years.”

    The cost of the restoration is estimated at $4.3 million, although updated bid figures are being sought, McKay said.

  • November 21, 2016

    Bells, TN – Historic Bells Theatre one step closer to encore presentation


    From The sound of applause will sound ring out again at the historic downtown Bells Theatre. “It’s been closed for 20 years, but the wallpaper, the lights, the seating, the velvet curtains — it’s all right there,” said Mildred Brimm, who says she grew up in the theatre.

    Brimm’s grandfather had a store beside the theatre. Now there’s an effort to make Bells Theatre the main attraction again, and it all started over a conversation at lunch.

    “We started looking at different places in our cities that maybe we’d forgotten but could be a great tourist attraction or something hidden, we need to bring attention to,” Charlie Moore with the Crockett County Chamber of Commerce said.

    That same day, they got the key and unlocked the door to the theatre and saw the work that needed to be done, but Brimm said it brought back so many memories.

    “When I walked in, it looked just like it did when I was a child growing up in this town. I could almost smell the popcorn,” Brimm said.

    Friday morning, state officials presented a round of grants to the city to make these efforts possible. A $380,000 grant from Tennessee Parks and Recreation, a clean energies grant for $350,000, and a $50,000 check from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Department of Rural Development.

    “The mayor referred to us as some bulldogs, and he’s right,” Sarah Conley with Crockett County’s Arts Council said. “We got a hold of this project and we’re not going to let it go until it is completed.”

    “They’re determined to do it, and I think they will,” Bells Mayor Joe Williams said.

    There is no word yet on when the $1.2 million project will reopen for its second act.

    “We’ve got to do it now. If we don’t, small-town America and the feeling of growing up in a small town is going to be lost,” Brimm said.

    The project still needs $185,000. If you would like to donate, visit the Facebook Page for the project, Save the Bells Theatre.

  • November 8, 2016

    Allentown, PA – Civic Theatre of Allentown kicking off $5.5 million capital campaign with celebrity support


    From The Morning Call: Civic Theatre of Allentown is launching the first major capital campaign in its history in hopes of raising $5.5 million to help restore the historic 19th Street Theatre.

    The announcement was made Friday afternoon in a news release announcing the campaign will kick off with “The Next Act … Setting the Stage for the Future,” a Nov. 15 invitation-only event at which actress Christine Taylor, an Allentown Central Catholic graduate and former Civic student, will speak. Taylor is the campaign’s honorary celebrity chairwoman.

    Also on the celebrity committee are film and stage actors with area ties and connections to Civic Theatre, including Dane DeHaan, Daniel Roebuck, Kelly Bishop and Anna Wood; Tony Award-winning director and actor Joe Mantello; Tony-nominated costume designer Michael McDonald; Tony-winning playwright and screenwriter Terrence McNally; and comedian/actor Tim Heidecker.

  • Kingston, NY – UPAC operator seeks Broadway theater angel


    From The Daily Freeman: The owners of the Ulster Performing Arts Center are looking for a private investor to raise nearly $1.4 million for improvements at the Broadway Theater.

    Chris Silva, executive director of Bardavon 1869 Opera House Inc., which operates UPAC, said the non-profit theater wants a for-profit investor to funnel $1,393,000 into its coffers. In exchange, he said, the investor would become 99 percent owner and would be able to access state and federal historic tax credits for at least five years as part of a federal program.

    The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program “encourages private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings,” according to the U.S. Department of Interior’s website.

    Under its proposal, Bardavon would continue to operate the theater and make decisions on personnel and artistic matters, Silva said. Theater would remain tax exempt, he said.

  • January 12, 2015

    “Varsity Theatre closing in on digital fundraising drive” From Chapel Hill, NC


    The Varsity Theatre, a downtown survivor that has lured generations of college students and townies across its sticky floors for mainstream movies, obscure art-house flicks and recent second-run film offerings, faces a do-or-die transformation again.

    The independent theater on Franklin Street has joined other small-town cinemas in the scramble to “go digital” so it won’t have “to go dark.”

    Most major studios no longer deliver film prints to movie theaters, replacing them with cheaper digital hard drives.

    Paul Shareshian, who bought the Varsity in 2009, hopes to move moviegoers to help him raise nearly $50,000 to preserve a hometown theater that is a holdover from a bygone era. In a town where GATES Construction broke ground at University Mall last fall on a 67,000-square-foot luxury theater that will house 13 screens, 1,500 lush leather seats, a restaurant and a lounge with a full bar, Shareshian has a much humbler goal.

    Read the entire article online at

  • July 6, 2013

    “Save The Historic Huntridge Theater!” – 11 Days Left


    Earlier this week I wrote about the importance of indiegogo, Kickstarter, and other fundraising sites that have helped independent cinemas convert to digital projection and/or keep the doors open during difficult times. I’m back this weekend with an update on a new effort to restore and reopen the long-closed Huntridge Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada. This S. Charles Lee-designed movie house is drifting away and may face demolition in 2017 when it loses its protected status. This would be a big loss for Las Vegas and for historic theaters.

  • July 3, 2013

    Kickstarting the Future of the Past


    As someone who began working in digital media fifteen years ago and was part of the dot com boom of the late 1990s, I’m always skeptical when some new wave is forming, even when it splashes over me. That’s why I’ve been genuinely elated by the impact Kickstarter and other online fundraising services have had on the plight of independent theaters across the US and UK. Although many larger cinema circuits converted to digital projection years ago, hundreds of small, independent movie houses still cannot not afford the digital transition without significant funds from the public and large donors.

  • July 18, 2011
  • June 30, 2011
  • December 29, 2010

    Columbia City Cinema selling its seats to raise desperately-needed cash

    SEATTLE, WA — After having an attempt to raise funds by selling stock/ blocked by state regulators, Paul Doyle is now offering the seats of his financially-ailing Columbia City Cinema for sale, with the goal of raising $50,000 by January 1. Purchasers may actually have the seats or have a plaque installed on the seats attesting to the seats' ownership, or have the seats repurchased by the theater when it is back on solid financial ground.

    The message that went out to supporters this week: “Hooray! We’ve figured out how to save the cinema. But it’s going to take every one of you, or it won’t work. And it needs to happen now.”

    Doyle set a Jan. 1 deadline for raising $50,000. That amount would buy the theater enough time to remain open indefinitely in 2011 while fundraising continues.

    The story is in the online Seattle P-I.