GOSHEN — With the warmth of nearly 1,000 lightbulbs illuminating Main Street, The Goshen Theater and its marquee are a beacon among downtown businesses.
When event manager Adrienne Nesbitt and Publisher Brian Bloom of The Goshen News met last November, the pair planned free film screenings within the crimson silk-lined walls of the historic theater to attract holiday foot traffic. Subsequent success carried screenings into 2016, resulting in the current Goshen News Summer Film Series.
Next in the series is the classic 1975 thriller “Jaws,” set for 8 p.m. Friday.
“Our mission, as a good newspaper, is to be a conduit to grow business and grow community. That’s our job,” Bloom said. “The mission is to drive people into these local businesses, to reintroduce downtown and the present at the end of the string is you get to see a wonderful movie for free and while you’re here, think about donating.”
Bloom said he initiated similar free public screenings in his former cities of residence and hopes to expand into neighboring areas in the future after experiencing a positive response in Goshen.
New to the Friday event is the addition of alcohol. Beer from Goshen Brewing Company, wine and assorted mixed drinks — each priced at $6 — will be available to drink during screenings. All profits from refreshment and snack sales, as well as any donations received, are directed toward the theater’s $13.7 million renovation campaign presently underway.
Nesbitt believes it is the combination of entertainment and nostalgia that attracts attendees down the sloped aisles and into the balcony. If you look closely, the walls of the theater’s upper level are seemingly two-toned, outlining the former third level seating once reserved for the black community during the tainted era of segregation. According to Nesbitt, the third tier was deconstructed long ago to allow for a projection system to be installed.
“Go up in the balcony with anyone over the age of 60 and they have got stories about, ‘Oh, this is where I sat with this guy’ or ‘This is where my wife and I used to make out,’” Nesbitt said with a chuckle. “This a part of the history here and I didn’t realize that until being a part of the series.”
Along with the Goshen News Summer Film Series is the $3 Creature Feature Film Series at The Goshen Theater, a collaboration between Art House and the theater, occurring every third Friday of the summer. Tickets can be purchased at the door with those sales also benefitting the theater.
As capital is raised and efforts toward full-scale renovation progress, Nesbitt sees the screenings as chance for attendees to re-visit the past while looking ahead.
“These movies are step toward getting people back into this space and remembering what they loved about the theater and what they’ll be able to expect from the theater in the future.”
May 27: “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
June 10: “Back to the Future”
June 24: “The Shawshank Redemption”
July 8: “E.T.”
July 22: “Titanic”
Aug. 12: “Hoosiers”
Aug. 26: “Forrest Gump”