The Civic Theatre Microcinema

Eleanor Stacey
February 10, 2022
Eleanor Stacey is the Executive Director of Nelson Civic Theatre Society, which operates The Civic Theatre, and Nelson classic, Reo’s Video.

It has been a busy 2022 already - just a scant month in and we have hit the ground running at Nelson Civic Theatre Society.  Not only have we screened more than a dozen films in the last five weeks, but we have been putting the final touches on our strategy for the next two years, and working on something extra-special that I thought I might leak a little detail about today.

As you may well know, Nelson Civic Theatre Society brought local cultural icon Reo’s Videos into our programs and services family, opening a new storefront at 225 Hall Street in March 2021. We’ve been happy to keep the flame of this Nelson favourite going, but it has felt like there was something missing, something more interactive and connected to our mission to delight audiences through the magic of cinema.  (You may also recall that a few locations ago, Reo’s Video may have felt the same way, and offered that great upstairs viewing room for parties and gatherings.)

Thanks to generous support from Telefilm, this Spring we will bring an exciting new addition to the 225 Hall Street space: an 18-seat microcinema space. While our main focus remains on our big screen at The Civic Theatre, we face repeated consternation and disappointment when film distribution terms force us to choose between popular films that pay our bills but often need to run for a full week or several more in order to secure them, and the diverse independent content that so many of our members and patrons love us for.  Our 3-screen renovation remains firmly in the works, but until then, we know that we urgently need an avenue to meet at least some of the diverse tastes and interests of our community.  And now we can.

The microcinema (official name to be announced soon) will offer the perfect space for niche audiences to see the best of new independent releases and time-tested classics in a cinema environment.  It will host public audiences, educational events, family gatherings, and social nights with friends.  We hope to connect discussion and discourse to film events to deepen audiences' context for films, and offer an affordable screening space for film events that anticipate an intimate audience. Complete with a small lobby, it will be a perfect place for little film soirees with friends or colleagues.

The adjacent onsite Reo’s Video Collection makes the microcinema all the more exciting.  After all, with 18,000 of the best movies in history reflecting so many genres, epoques, and cultural contexts, we are always ready to show a great film.  We are looking forward to having a space to curate series of films and build a conversation with audiences on a longer-term basis about films and film eras we love. And of course, you can still always get a movie and a bag of Civic Theatre popcorn to take home.

And finally, there is one more really cool side effect of the opening of the microcinema at 225 Hall: with a space to show more independent films than ever, we also have more space in our regular calendar to screen new releases when they come out.  We will still show plenty of great independent film at The Civic Theatre, of course, but we also hope that we won’t need to ask our audiences to wait so long so often either.

We all want 2022 to be a better year than 2021 in so many ways.  It brings me great pleasure to be able to deliver some good news for our community, and good news for NCTS.  I hope to see you in one of our lobbies soon!

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