Targeted News Service
April 13, 2010 Tuesday 5:44 AM EST
The Campus Theatre To Shine Again In Downtown Milledgeville
BYLINE: Targeted News Service
DATELINE: MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga.
Georgia College and State University issued the following news release:
The Campus Theatre is now really living up to its name.
The renovated historic downtown Milledgeville movie house officially becomes an active part of the Georgia College & State University campus during a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening on April 20. The addition of the theatre to Georgia College’s roster of working facilities is another step in the university’s efforts to strengthen its ties with the community.
“This marks the next step in the re-birth of this beautiful building with its addition to the campus of Georgia College & State University,” said Georgia College President Dorothy Leland. “Our goals were to bring the historic Campus Theatre to life again and reutilize its space in a way that plays a significant role in the continued redevelopment of downtown Milledgeville.
“I think we can safely say we’ve accomplished both in impressive fashion.”
Dr. Leland will preside during the grand opening, which begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 20 with a VIP reception complete with theatre concessions including soft drinks and popcorn.
The ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at the theatre’s entrance will be followed by tours of the building.
Reminiscent of the past, those entering the theatre will receive a ticket at the door. The ticket will enter the visitors in drawings for various prizes during the evening.
Jugglers will perform outside the theatre in advance of the event while greeters and docents will be available all evening to offer information about the renovated theatre.
A silent film featuring the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy will screen in the “black box” theatre during the dedication. Oliver Hardy lived in Milledgeville as a young boy before leaving to pursue his acting career.
Georgia College acquired the old move house in February 2008. Auxiliary services funds were used for the purchase of the movie house, which opened to great fanfare in 1935 and closed with solemn goodbyes in 1983.
The university’s $6.9 million renovation funded through bonds issued by Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority expanded the building’s useable space from 17,000 to 21,000 square feet. The facade, marquee, doorways, ticket booth and other distinctive features have been restored to their original Art Deco splendor.
The theatre’s interior has been reconfigured to serve the needs of the university’s theatre program and to provide downtown with two new retail outlets — Box Office Bookstore and Jittery Joe’s Coffee shop.
Much of the structure’s brick has been exposed on the interior and its original hardwood flooring refurbished to add character.
Included in the space dedicated to the theatre department are make-up and costume areas, performance studios, staff offices and a “black box” performance theatre designed to accommodate a variety of configurations depending on the type of performance.
“The theatre department is thrilled to have its first dedicated space in which students can explore theatre at its most personal and real,” said Karen Berman, theatre chair and artistic director of theatre programs.
During the opening ceremonies, the theatre department will decorate its offices and the practice lab areas with costumes and posters from shows of the recent past.
“Audiences will delight in coming face to face with actors in this intimate space,” Berman said of the “black box” area.
“Steel Magnolias” will be the department’s debut production next fall.
Box Office Books features a retail bookstore on the main floor to serve the entire community. It features a section with a movie motif consistent with the theatre’s history, as well as Georgia College merchandise.
University textbooks and student supplies are available in the downstairs portion of the bookstore, which is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays 12 to 5 p.m.
The Campus Theatre opened March 18, 1935, with an estimated 5,000 people attending ceremonies heralding its place as a “jewel” of downtown Milledgeville. Of those attending, only 1,328 were fortunate enough to get seats in the auditorium when the projectors clicked on a little after 9 p.m. to cap the event with the showing of “Broadway Bill.”
Built at a cost of $135,000, Martin Theatres Inc. owner, Roy Martin, billed the movie house as “one of the finest theatres in the South.”
Now, 85 years after it first lit up downtown Milledgeville, the Campus Theatre is shining again.
“We have returned the Campus Theatre to its place as a centerpiece of the downtown area,” Leland said.
Contact: Judy Bailey, University Communications, 478/445-4477, judy.bailey