• May 25, 2016

    Hoopeston, IL - Historic Lorraine Theatre to be renovated and reopened


    From A historic theatre is about to get a big makeover. The Lorraine Theatre has been closed for about 4 years, but one group is working to restore it to its former glory.

    It’s a project that will probably take 4 or 5 years, but work is getting started next week. Some people say having it reopen would be a dream come true.

    “Welcome back.,” Alex Homes, vice president of the Save the Lorraine Foundation, says to returning customers.

    People used to come to the theatre to see movies. This time they’re just here for the memories.

    “She was one of the original ticket ladies,” a woman gestures to her friend. “You can come back and work for us if you want,” Homes replies.

    It’s been closed for a few years, but people like Jeff Keith are glad to say that’s not permanent.

    He says, “My hope is to see it restored in the city with a box of popcorn and a cold drink one of these days in the not-too-distant future.”

    The theatre opened in 1922, and was restored in 1937. The Save the Lorraine Foundation took over the aging building after it closed in 2012. They’ve made it their mission to recapture and enhance the original atmosphere.

    Keith says, “Plans are to completely remodel it and restore it to that period. As you can see it’s needing a lot of repairs.”

    This wall is one of them. When it was closed the heat was turned off. One winter the pipes froze and busted through the wall. Part of the ceiling above the balcony fell in as well.

    Homes says, “The big nail in the coffin is all of the theatres are switching to digital instead of film.”

    These are just a few things that need to be fixed, along with making it more handicap accessible. Workers have already added a few extra feet to the stage. They’ll use that space for live performances.

    “Not only to come and see films again or to see live performances again, but everyone has stories about the Lorraine,” Homes adds.

    Keith says “I came here as a child, growing up in Hoopeston 3 blocks away. I had my first date many, many years ago.”

    Keith is a loyal customer, but he’s also a member of the Hoopeston Historical Society. He says the town lost a big when the Lorraine closed, and it would be criminal not to bring it back to its original glory.

    He says, “There’s something about the acoustics and I guess hometown feel that makes the Lorraine… It’s in your heart. it’s in your soul.”

    The theatre probably won’t be fully open for a few years, but the foundation says they’re planning on clearing the floor and using the new stage for live performances this fall while work continues.

    You’re probably wondering how they’re going to pay for all of these renovations. The foundation also runs the “Little Lorraine” theatre just down the street. All the money they raise from that and other fundraisers goes directly to fixing up the original. They say they’ve also gotten donations from local businesses and the city.

  • Laconia, NH - Preparations for Colonial Theatre renovation proceeding smoothly


    From The Citizen: It may not look like much is going on from the outside, but preparation work to restore the Colonial Theatre has been proceeding smoothly for the past several months.

    Justin Slattery, the executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Council, spoke before a gathering of about 75 at the Taylor Community on Tuesday, and told the group he’s been very pleased with efforts made so far to get the facility ready for a major renovation next year.

    “It really is a jewel for the city,” Slattery said. “This building’s historic significance is incredible.”

    Slattery showed slides of work performed this spring to remove steel partitioning put in during the 1980s to turn the Colonial into a multi-plex movie house.

    “They were very careful to cut those steel beams into small pieces so they could be removed safely without damaging any of the artwork inside the theater,” Slattery said.

    He described for the audience his amazement when he saw some of the artwork inside the building once the partitioning was removed.

    “I can’t believe how good a shape the pictures and art is in,” Slattery said. “It’s especially true when this has been sitting there for many years.”

    The building’s roof is in good shape, and plans will soon be worked on about how to best renovate apartments above the theater.

    “We’re looking at turning them into condos or apartments for young professionals that want to be downtown,” Slattery said.

    The three buildings that comprise the renovation project amount to about 38,000 square feet, with the theater taking up 20,000 square feet of space.

    Built in 1914 and hailed for its distinct fresco architecture and unique design qualities, the Colonial Theatre was once at the forefront of 20th century culture in Laconia, hosting traveling vaudeville shows and special events, such as the world premiere of the film “Return to Peyton Place” in 1961.

  • May 24, 2016

    Raton, NM - New Mexico Joins Effort to Rehabilitate Historic Theatres


    From the Newton Daily News: For years, the Shuler Theater in this once-booming New Mexico mining town sat empty in a desolate downtown. It had long passed its heyday as a hot spot for Italian immigrants and Hispanic workers who visited to take in a traveling show or a newly released movie.

    But today the 101-year-old Raton venue again is attracting audiences from as far as Trinidad, Colorado just across the state line for variety shows and will soon be ready to screen any Star Wars movie. That change comes as New Mexico is joining other states in pushing an initiative to revitalize downtown districts in isolated, small towns by rehabilitating aging, historic theaters.

    An economic development program, similar to efforts in Iowa and Illinois, seeks save the often-forgotten facilities like the Shuler Theater with help on refurbishing buildings and grants for new digital projection and sound equipment. With state funding, cities can develop new business plans and retool theaters’ dusty interiors so they can become main attractions in rural areas, New Mexico Economic Development Department Secretary Jon Barela said.

    “These theaters are part of our history,” said Barela, who went to a small theater in Las Cruces as a child. “They are beautiful architectural gems and they are anchors of the community.”

    Since January 2013, the state has set aside around $100,000 each for eight theaters, Barela said.

    Like refurbished small theaters in other states, New Mexico officials believe reviving theaters in ranching towns and small cities near American Indian reservations will help create jobs in struggling downtown districts and spark excitement in entertainment deserts. Some, such as El Morro Theatre in Gallup, New Mexico, are located along the iconic Route 66 next to the Navajo Nation while others, such as the Lyceum Theater in Clovis, sit just across the New Mexico-Texas state line.

  • May 14, 2016

    Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Paramount Renovations to Begin in 2017


    From Back in January 2015, it was announced that Brooklyn’s Paramount Theatre on Flatbush would begin hosting music again for the first time in 50 years. (Not to be confused with nearby Paramount Theaters, like the ones in Asbury Park, Long Island or Westchester.) More details on that have now emerged.

    As Billboard reports, the team behind Barclays Center and the renovation of the Nassau Veterans Coliseum has signed a long-term lease with LIU Brooklyn to renovate and operate the Long Island University Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. Renovatons will begin in 2017, overseen by Paramount Events Center (PEC), and the doors are slated to open in 2019.

  • May 12, 2016

    Norwalk, CT - Wall Street Theater Renovation Advances, Opening Slated


    From The Hour:
    Better sound, lighting and theater rigging have driven Wall Street Theater Co. to rethink its renovation of the historic theater at 71 Wall St.

    Developer Frank Farricker said the organization rethought the design of the interior of the building after abatement work was completed last year.

    “We went through our design process and got through everything and when we started doing the work we found a lot of things that a potential user of the facility could find lacking,” Farricker said. The redesign “is a little bit more (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant. It has a much more robust and professional theater setup, both for the rigging and the lighting design, and the sound design is a lot more powerful.”

  • April 20, 2016

    The York Theatre Royal (York, UK) Reopens on 22 April After Renovations


    York Theatre Royal will reopen its doors following a £6million redevelopment by architects De Matos Ryan. The 270 year old theatre will launch with the world stage premiere of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel Brideshead Revisited, adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Damian Cruden.

  • April 18, 2016

    Tampa Theatre Preservation Receives $500,000 Gift


    Building on what has been a successful year of fundraising for the nonprofit Tampa Theatre, the majestic movie palace is the proud recipient of a half-million dollar gift from the family of Theatre Board Member Anne Arthur Pittman, including her husband, Drew Pittman; her father and stepmother, Tom and Dixie Arthur; her mother and stepfather, Bretta Arthur Sullivan and The Honorable Don Sullivan; and her sister and brother-in-law, Tready and Thayer Smith.

  • April 7, 2016

    The Lorraine Theatre Has Tentative Plans to Open This Year


    Great news from our friends in Hoopeston, IL! The Lorraine Theatre has tentative plans to open this year. Preparations are now in progress to begin work in the auditorium. The heat has been turned on to start work for the first phase of the auditorium renovation, according to Save the Lorraine Foundation Vice President Alex Houmes.

  • April 1, 2016

    How ‘New Blood’ Brought Beverly’s Historic Movie Palace Back To Life


    Great news from our friends in Beverly, Massachusetts and Boston NPR: “Once there were more than 20,000 grand movie palaces in the United States. Think the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, the Somerville Theatre, the Strand Theatre in Dorchester.

    Today, though, the National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates only about 250 survive. The Cabot Theatre in Beverly is one of them.

    Not too long ago it seemed to be on the verge of joining the list of lost classic movie houses. But the community here banded together to save the Cabot for 21st century audiences.

  • March 31, 2016

    The Ohio Theatre Returns to its 1921 Splendor with Renovations Nearly Complete


    The restoration of Playhouse Square’s Ohio Theatre lobby is almost complete, with the space returned to its original grandeur. The May completion will mark the final project on the Playhouse Square theater renovations list.