COLUMN: The single screen that could

In an industry that has consistently pushed out single-screen theatres to make way for megaplexes, the Civic Theatre’s story is inspiring.

The Civic Theatre is like the Little Engine That Could. Except instead of a train it's

The Civic Theatre is like the Little Engine That Could. Except instead of a train it's

In an industry that has consistently pushed out single-screen theatres to make way for centralized megaplexes, the Civic Theatre’s story, with its monumental community support has been inspiring.

Far from rolling back down the hill into darkness, our single-screen that could regularly lights up with two features in an evening, opera, dance, and exhibitions on screen, weekly independent and international films, community produced content and events, and live music.

And now that we are cresting the hill with another successful year in our under carriage, the Little Civic Engine is ready to pick up a couple of extra cars for its regular programming run.

Starting this fall, we will be introducing a bi-weekly documentary series. We have typically been adding the odd doc to our Thursday night bill, but there are just too many good docs being produced and too many great indie/international titles to fit them all in.

Our hope is that by reliably offering a consistent documentary series, we can appeal to lovers of non-fiction filmmaking while simultaneously preserving and adding to the type of Thursday fare the bulk of our regulars crave.

We will open the doc series on Wednesday, Sept. 9 with Amy, the 97 per cent certified fresh documentary on Amy Winehouse, directed by the award-winning director of Senna. On Sept. 30, we will be screening the Sundance Film Festival’s best documentary winner, The Wolfpack, and in mid-October, just in time for the federal elections, we will be bringing in the amazing new documentary based on Naomi Klein’s latest book, This Changes Everything.

Next stop, a regular monthly crowd-sourced program. After the amazing success of our pilot attempt with Awake: The Life of Yoganada, we are getting the processes locked down for a regular monthly slot, where the community can suggest niche programming and if the target of 75 pre-sales is met by a given time, the program will be confirmed.

Our first title up is, The Mask You Live In, a follow up to the important film Miss Representation. The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Visit the Civic Theatre’s website to pre-purchase tickets for an Oct. 5 screening and help us reach the numbers needed to confirm the booking.

Continuing to chug along, the Civic line looks forward to expanding our single-screen into a full-blown station and bringing to terminal all sorts of amazing opportunities for community media. But until then, our little single-screen tank engine that could is making Thomas look a little torpid, quite frankly.

Jason Asbell is the theatre manager, programmer and boilerman for the Civic Theatre.