Lewiston Theater continues showing films for low cost

By VICTORIA HEPWORTH

Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Theatre

Lewiston THEATRE EMPLOYEE Leslie Reddish fills popcorn bags before a movie begins. Tickets are $2 and concessions are less expensive than most theaters in Cache Valley. DeLayne Locke photo

 

 

On a Friday night in Lewiston, Utah, three part-time employees of the Lewiston Theatre made popcorn, chatted and waited for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking – Dawn Part 1" to begin.

They watched as people began to stream in. The area behind the desk where Holly Walker, Rosie Williams and Jane Anderson work is a small, cozy space. It is here they sell candy and tickets to anxious movie-goers.

As customers walked through the door, they talked to people they knew who were paying for tickets at the window. Some patrons bought popcorn before settling down in their seats.

Mason Cardon, an undeclared sophomore at USU, was visiting the theater for the first time. He bought some Mambas before his movie started.

"Wow, cheap candy," he said, as he provided 75 cents.

The theater attracts many people from around Cache Valley, though faces from Logan are sometimes scarce, said Williams, the theater manager.

"We don't see a lot of college students come down from Logan which is surprising because we offer such a low price," WIlliams said. "People think going from Logan to Lewiston is too far."

Williams has worked at the theater since 1994. Walker has worked at the theater for 10 months and Anderson has been employed for 13 years. In total, there are eight employees and seven volunteers who keep the theater running.

The theater is owned by the city of Lewiston. The city subsidizes the cost of running the theater because it is such an important and historical part of Lewiston, Williams said.

"Because it is subsidized, the cost of seeing a movie is $2 — low in comparison to any other theater in Cache Valley," Anderson said. "The theater is a historical place that the town wants to preserve. It would not sustain itself if it tried to survive on its own."

Williams said she tries to choose clean, family-oriented movies that encourage a good environment. She said she especially encourages families to come Mondays, because the theater offers $10 family night.

The theater was built in 1935, and Williams said the historical background of the building is "rich."

"It was built it to give people jobs during the depression," Williams said.

She said behind much of the history lays behind the theatre's walls.

"There is a wall behind the screen that shows signatures and dates of the people who originally opened it," she said. "It also shows the names of all the people who ever performed in plays or musicals."

Above the theatre seats is a small room that has two chairs where an employee runs the projector machine, Williams said.

"We call the two-seat balcony the love room," Walker added.

When the theatre was first established, it was open on Sundays and people would come watch a movie right after church, still in their church clothes, Williams said.

"It wasn't always used for movie screens. It was first built for live productions and then remodeled to suit films," she said.

More than 70 years later, the theater still bustles with activity on Friday nights, as it gets about 200 visitors, on a good night, said Williams.

The employees and the city recently learned the theater will have to switch to digital movie players, instead of the 35-millimeter film players it currently uses. The company that supplies the movies will no longer make the 35 millimeter reels, Anderson said.

The theater will not survive if it does not receive some form of donations, because the price of having to switch to digital would be too costly, Anderson said. The city can't afford to keep the theater running with the change to digital, he added.

 

"We have a very nice environment, good price and cheap candy," Anderson said. "We're hoping that we get donations so we don't have to close down. My 13-year-old daughter practically lives here. I love it when people from other places come to visit."

 

 

– victoria.hepworth@aggiemail.usu.edu 

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