ABERDEEN – Since March 14, 2020, the front doors of the Elkin Theatre have remained mostly closed due to restrictions and complications linked to the pandemic.
The nonprofit theatre’s board of directors will gauge its summer schedule with a soft reopening for three Saturday nights – May 15, 22 and 29, which will feature blockbusters from the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“Because of seating requirements, we’re only going to open one night a week,” said Elkin Theatre Board of Directors President Bob Seymour. “This is really a test for these three weeks to see what happens and to see if anybody comes.”
The theatre will show “Jaws” on May 15, “Back to the Future” May 22 and “E.T.” on May 29. Admission is $5 as the Elkin Theatre still has to pay production studios in order to show the movies. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the movies begin at 7 p.m.
“We’re going to put up signs and ask people to wear a mask from the door until they get into the theatre, and it’s up to them. We’d like for them to keep wearing them,” Seymour said.
Every other row of the theatre will be taped off to distance groups of people. Plexiglass was installed at the concession stand as another safety precaution.
While the price of drinks and popcorn is still $1, the grand opening special for candy is two for a $1 for a temporary basis.
After the three-week test run, Seymour does not anticipate the theatre closing down again.
“We should go back to normal, or some type of normal,” he said.
As far as summer movie availability, Seymour said what’s shown locally depends on what’s released by movie studios.
“This is a test. We’re trying to see what’s the market and what people want to do from there. We may show old movies or if the studios start putting out new ones that they’re just putting in theaters, we’ll switch to that,” Seymour said.
In the nearly 14 months since the Elkin has been closed, it has received approximately $5,500 in relief funds to recoup lost revenue. The board of directors also applied for a shuttered venue grant totaling $23,000.
“We went through the money we did have pretty quick paying for utilities and insurance. We had no income but still had to pay for heating and air conditioning. We did some cleaning and fogging and put up the plexiglass,” Seymour said.
At this point, the board of directors has decided to not rent out the theatre during the test period. It will reevaluate options after the soft reopening.