Novato, CA — Novato Theater Gets $25K Boost; Resident Launches Online Drive to Encourage Donations

NovatoNovato Theater Gets $25K Boost; Resident Launches Online Drive to Encourage Donations
By Karina Ioffee | Published by
July 2, 2013

“Build it and they will come.”

That’s the rallying cry of the group working to restore Novato Theater, downtown’s one-screen movie house that has sat vacant for more than 20 years and become Novato’s own “Field of Dreams.”

The nonprofit Novato Theater already has approximately $600,000 in assets, but needs another $3 million to demolish and rebuild the historic theater. But because the venue has languished for years, backers want to start interior demolition as soon as they hit the $1.4 million mark, which they hope will happen by early next year.

“The more the community supports this project, the faster it will happen,” said June Haugen, a Novato Theater board member. “We want to get it funded, get it built and open.”

Last week, the effort received a sizeable boost from the Marin Community Foundation, which gave the theater $25,000 towards the achieving its vision. Locals have also thrown themselves into the fundraising effort, including resident Brian Woodson who recently started a GoFundMe campaign to help the theater raise $10,000.

If and when it opens, the new Novato Theater will have two theaters where visitors can watch independent and foreign films and stage for local music, dance and theater productions. When no movies are playing, local companies, schools and residents will be able to rent the theater (some seats will be removable), generating revenue for its day-to-day operations.

“This is going to be the most unique theater in the North Bay,” said Deborah Rawson, a spokeswoman for Novato Theater. “Not only will it have state of the art sound, but it will also have dressing rooms and a stage equipped for live production. Virtually anything and everything people want to use it for—themed birthdays, plays, corporate meetings, watching televised events—will be possible.”

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