Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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$100,000 goal for digital projector, theatre upgrades

Playhouse kicks off community drive

Raising enough money to buy a digital projector, drop-down screen and other improvements for the Sun Theatre will be the biggest pledge drive since the Gothenburg Community Playhouse bought the theatre in 1983.

Through a two-year community and area fund drive, which kicked off Aug. 24, playhouse members hope to net at least $100,000.

Money collected over that amount will be used for other upgrades.

Without a digital projector, the playhouse can no longer show movies in a couple of years.

Theatre director Matt Weiss said movies on 35-millimeter film, which the theatre shows now, will become obsolete.

A new projector will also enable the theatre to obtain new releases sooner because they will be digital, Weiss said.

“Either we move forward or we’ll disappear,” said board member Devin Brundage.

Proceeds from weekend movies pay operational expenses, Weiss said.

“Movies are our source of income that keep our doors open,” he said.

So the theatre doesn’t have to stop showing movies during rehearsals and live productions, because of on stage props, members hope to buy a drop-down screen.

New stage curtains are also on the wish list.

To enhance sound, the board hopes to install sound panels on the sides of the theatre. Brundage said sound reflects off the walls which often makes it difficult for moviegoers to hear dialogue.

The more-than-century-old theatre was built as an opera house in 1909 for live productions, not movies, Weiss said.

Members also hope to buy a sound system that includes microphones for performers who now project their voices during productions.

A sound and light booth will be moved from upstairs to downstairs.

Brundage and Weiss said digital projection brings potential for the theatre to become a digital center that will attract people from longer distances.

At the Sun, the public can watch live sporting events like Husker games or travelogues, have private showings, host video-game nights and more.

A digital projector also gives businesses an option for pre-movie advertising.

A successful drive, Weiss said, will help ensure that admission and concession prices remain affordable and continue to be the lowest in the region.

The board members added that communities don’t often realize the importance of movie theatres until they leave a community.

Weiss pointed out that Gothenburg is the only theatre between Kearney and North Platte, along the Interstate 80 corridor.

He noted that Broken Bow and Arnold have theatres where movies are already shown digitally.

“With more generations coming up, we have to keep the building and equipment in good shape to offer what we do and to make the theatre something the community is proud of,” Weiss said.

Local and area residents will receive letters in the mail about the drive and businesses will be solicited in the coming weeks.

For more information, call Weiss at 529-1386 or Brundage at 529-1597.

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