Bringing movies back to downtown Milford has become a closer reality as volunteers at the Riverfront Theatre installed a 12 x 16 foot screen and projector. The theatre has been the home of the community theatre group Second Street Players (SSP) since the 1980’s. Hosting several adult and children’s productions each year, SSP Board of Directors have stood alongside the idea of movies, looking for additional ways to encourage residents and visitors to enjoy the venue that has provided entertainment in downtown Milford for over thirty years.
Over the last twelve months, members of the Riverfront Theatre in downtown Milford have been giving the building and its operations an overhaul. Acknowledging the importance of performing arts in small communities such as Milford, volunteers Bob Connelly and Dan Marabello have been seen by residents of Milford painting fixtures, replacing signage and overall restoring the theater. In an attempt to expand the use of the theatre on Walnut Street, members of the Board of Directors approved showing movies in the theatre just months ago. Open to the public, the events would have the opportunity to reach a broader audience and possibly pull from other communities.
While the infrastructure is now in place to show movies, Building Manager at the Riverfront Theatre Bob Connelly is in the process of forming a committee that will be tasked with exploring just what it will take to make the movies idea a reality. Connelly is looking for residents of Milford to join the committee that have knowledge of the film industry, licensing and rights issues and technical experience with projectors and screens.
“We are looking for professionals that can help out in their own areas of expertise,” said Connelly. “there still is some work needed before the idea can be fully realized and put into practice.”
Connelly hopes that the first movie in the Riverfront Theatre will be shown in March of this year. “My plan is to show ten movies a year,” said Connelly. “The goal of the movie nights will be to introduce people to the fact that [the theatre] is here. It is amazing how often people say to me ‘There is a theatre in Milford?’, and we have been here for 35 years.”
With a focus on increasing awareness and participation with Riverfront Theater and Second Street players, Connelly says that he wants to keep the ticket prices at $5. “We want this to become a place where people can come to be entertained in Milford and have an enjoyable, inexpensive evening with friends and family.” Also noticing a need to develop a stronger relationship with the latino community, a movie night for spanish speaking individuals will also be available at the theatre.
The proceeds from the movies will help to secure not only the expenses that come along with running and maintaining the theatre but also ensure that the Second Streets Players are able to continue their tradition of performing and encouraging arts in the local community. A volunteer driven group where directors, actors, set designers and the board of directors are all unpaid volunteers, the organization was built out of a shared love of growing the theatrical arts in Milford. Included in their yearly productions, Second Street Players perform musicals, dramas, comedies, original works, the Children’s Dessert Theatre and cooperative productions with other cultural groups and schools. The Board of Directors and Mr. Connelly agreed that the first priority of the theatre would remain a venue for live performing arts and that movies would be shown only when auditions, rehearsal and performances are not being held.
Individuals and businesses that are interested in creating a plan for movies at the Riverfront Theatre on Walnut Street in downtown Milford are asked to contact the theatre at 302-422-0220. “I’m encouraged, I’m excited. The response from the community has been very positive,” said Connelly. “We now need people to show up.”
** For the opening night of movies at the Riverfront Theatre, MilfordLIVE.com will be giving away 20 tickets to our fans as we promote the growth of arts in our downtown area. Stay tuned for details to see how you can be a winner !