Through the financial generosity of supporters, the iconic Strand Theatre in downtown Delaware at 28 E. Winter St. has become the beneficiary of renovations that have enhanced the moviegoing experience.
In a private gathering held Thursday, the Strand Theatre and Cultural Arts Association showed its appreciation to the financial supporters who have made the upgrades possible with a tour centered around the improvements. In addition, the gathering featured the revealing of a new partnership, and theatre officials shared the results from a recent survey of its moviegoers.
As a nonprofit, the Strand relies on community and donor support, grants and sponsorships, and governmental support to fund improvements made to the theatre, which first opened in 1916.
Recent improvements include:
• The theatre received a $12,000 grant from the Delaware County Board of Commissioners for the renovation of the lobby’s ticket booth. The old circular booth that once stood in the middle of the lobby has been replaced with one half its size and moved back further from the main entrance. By moving the ticket boot back, additional space has been created to allow more patrons to get inside during inclement weather.
• A $10,000 grant from the Robert Wiler Family Fund of the Delaware County Foundation paid for the replacement of the old doors entering into the main theater with solid soundproof stage doors to silence the ambient noise of the lobby.
• The David L. Pemberton Sr. family, who shared a love of watching movies at the Strand with Peter and Georgia Manos, donated a bronze plaque, which now hangs outside the cinema’s main theater, honoring the memory and contributions of the Manos family.
• The renovation and addition of 130 new seats to the upper level of the balcony were made possible through a generous financial donation from the Brown family of Upper Arlington. The new balcony was recently renamed to the Brown Family Generations Theater, dedicated to all of the children who have taken part in the Free Summer Kids Series.
According to an earlier report, the first level of the balcony theater was completed in November 2017 thanks to a $175,000 federal grant made possible by the State of Ohio. The initial renovation added 65 rocking seats with cup holders, enhanced lighting, new acoustic tile and carpeting, and new paint and railings.
• Through donations and grants, renovations to the restrooms, marquee repair, a new building façade, and HVAC and boiler units were all made possible.
The theatre association also made an announcement that envisions future renovations, but officials were not ready to release the information to the public.
The association announced its new partnership with the Oak & Brazen Wine Company which resides next door to the Strand. The wine company has created a red blend chardonnay wine labeled Strand Theatre.
According to Tracey Peyton, managing director of the Strand, 10% of the proceeds from each bottle of Strand Theatre-labeled wine sold will go to the theatre.
The association also shared the results of a survey of moviegoers of the Strand Theatre. According to the survey, patrons love their movie theater, often combine a night at the movies with dinner in the downtown, and buck the national trend in preferring to buy tickets at the theatre than online.
The iconic, nonprofit Strand Theatre is celebrating its 103rd year in operation. It is one of the 10 longest-operating theatres in the United States and one of the few remaining independent theatres showing first-run films.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.