LEWISBURG — While the shows did go on through streaming films that people could watch in their own homes, the seats in the Campus Theatre have stood empty and the screen blank during the pandemic shutdown.
Now, due to a recent state mandate, the theater is able to light up its screen and open its doors to a limited capacity of 60 socially distanced seats.
To thank the people who have supported the theater through its membership program, and to encourage new memberships, the Campus Theatre is offering the first weekend shows free, for members only.
Show times are: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. A family-friendly matinee on Saturday at 1 p.m. And an open-caption screening on Sunday at 5 p.m.
The Board of Directors will also sponsor free popcorn for all screenings on opening weekend, in appreciation of members’ support.
“The staff and board of the Campus Theatre are excited to once again welcome people to this beautiful theatre and hope that by opening, we are able to bring more light back to the community that has supported us very well for over 75 years,” said Susan Mathias, board president. “When the marquee lights are on, Lewisburg is open.”
Donna Padilla, director of outreach and fundraising at the Campus Theatre, emphasized how the support of members has helped the downtown theater, especially through the past few months.
“We are so grateful to our members for sticking by us and renewing their memberships, and to our new members who joined during our temporary closure,” Padilla said. “Their support has given us a lot of hope and stability during this time of uncertainty. We are thrilled to be able to offer this small gesture as a token of our appreciation.”
“Our dedicated members provide a strong foundation for our continuing operation through these difficult times and are greatly appreciated,” said Scotta Magnelli, executive director of the Campus Theatre. “Since March, we have offered quality films by streaming them and this fall, our Monday Night film showings were very popular.”
Going forward, to the weekend of Nov. 13, a schedule has not yet been finalized but the theater will be open only on weekends for the foreseeable future, Padilla said.
The 60 seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Groups of people from the same household will be allowed to sit together. All unavailable seats will be blocked off in order to make social distancing as comprehensive as possible.
“We have taken every safety precaution imaginable to ensure patrons have as pleasant a movie-going experience as possible,” Padilla said. “We understand there is still a lot of uncertainty for many people and we are available to answer any questions folks may have.”
Precautions against the virus include:
— Masks are mandatory at all times while in the theatre.
— 60 socially distanced seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to secure their spot.
— Plexiglas barriers around the concession stand have been installed.
— Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the theater.
— High-touch surfaces/areas will be sanitized frequently.
— Interior foot traffic patterns will be controlled with signs and stanchions.
— The newly renovated ticket booth will be used as the point of entry to ensure proper headcount and to keep patrons and staff safe.
— The theater will be cleaned and sanitized after each screening with a newly purchased electrostatic mister that kills bacteria and viruses.
For more information or to become a member, visit www.campustheatre.org or call 570-577-7901
Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com