Irwin, PA - Irwin’s Lamp Theatre plans to buy digital projector to screen newer movies

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on November 1, 2016 at 8:36 pm


From The renovated Lamp Theatre in Irwin is showing movies again — classic flicks for now via an old film projector — but operators hope to entertain audiences with recent releases once a new digital movie projector is purchased.

The theater’s operators hope to have the new projector by the Christmas holiday season, said John Gdula, president of the Lamp Theatre board of directors. The organization is making the financial arrangements to buy a projector for about $38,000, he said.

A digital projector is needed to show first-run movies “primarily because the movie studios are stopping production of movies on film,” said Patrick Corcoran, vice president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.

Corcoran said the studios have moved to digital production as a way of reducing costs.

“It’s much less expensive for them to distribute the movies on hard drives — about $60 — than on film, which costs about $1,200 per movie,” Corcoran said.

The quality of the digital picture is the same as film but does not develop flaws with age, Corcoran said.

With a digital projector, the Lamp Theatre would be able to screen new movies. Whether the movies would be first-run or available after making a run at the multiplex cinemas in the region likely would be determined by the rules governing distribution rights of the movie, Gdula said.

The revenue generated by ticket sales and the profit from concessions should cover the cost of the digital projector, Gdula said.

The Lamp’s operators will have to consider when to show movies as an increasingly busy production schedule includes live entertainment and the showing of older, classic movies.

“It’s a nice problem to have,” Gdula said.

The efforts to restore the Lamp Theatre over the past several years have been recognized by the Westmoreland County Historical Society, which recently gave the Lamp board an Arthur St. Clair Historical Preservation Award “for bringing a property back to life,” Gdula said.

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ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at




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