Historic theaters reopening in small Georgia towns
By Jeanne Bonner | Published by Marketplace.org
June 26, 2013
What’s the nicest building in your town? In Atlanta, many people would say it’s the historic Fox Theatre.
From the street, you can see the original gold-encrusted ticket booth and the majestic marquee. Inside, the ceiling is painted to look like the starry night sky.
Adina Erwin is the Fox’s general manager. She says people love the historic theater in their town because it’s beautiful. And it’s a tie to the past.
“The historic theater in these downtowns is one of the few, remaining, true, authentic sources of the community,” she says.
The Fox is thriving. But in the 1970s, Atlanta was about to bulldoze the old place before residents rallied to save it.
The Fox Theatre is doing so well, its staff now helps other old Georgia theaters stay alive. They give advice on artisans to, say, relight the marquee or match an interior paint color. And they award grants, typically about $20,000.
Erwin says that often a town council owns the theater or the local chamber of commerce.
“Many of the people who are operating these theaters, the managers, don’t come from the theater world,” she says. “They don’t come from working in any theater whether it’s historic or non-historic.”