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LARGE POPCORN, EXTRA BUTTER: The little screen that could

Shoebox Theatre gives Nelson movie lovers new options
A scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, showing this week at The Civic Theatre on the 40th anniversary of the film’s release. Photo: Submitted

by Jason Asbell

The Civic Theatre introduced a new screening room this past week, and it is remarkable. The Shoebox Theatre at 225 Hall St. may only have a 20-seat capacity, but it boasts the latest in laser cinema projection and theatre sound. The room is small, but the viewing experience is huge.

Perhaps though, even more exciting than all this technology in a cute package, is the flexibility of having a second screen. This past week, while we opened Bullet Train on the break (initial release) that demands an exclusive run on our main screen for the week, we were able to bring in the indie family stop-animated film Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, encore screenings of Elvis and a few intimate screenings of the Punjabi hit, Challa Mud Ke Nahi Aaya simultaneously in The Shoebox Theatre.

And in a more interesting twist, for this week’s run of Nope and DC League of Super Pets, both of which demand full shows, we are able to take advantage of our new screen and play both films in both theatres to satisfy the show terms while maximizing the seat count for each movie’s best showtimes. So the family-friendly Pets can play the early shows on the big screen and evenings on the Shoebox’s small screen, while the more mature horror/sci-fi film Nope, from auteur Jordan Peele, can play mats on the small screen and take advantage of the bigger occupancy for the evening slots on the big screen.

In addition to all this programmatic logic, the introduction of the unique Shoebox viewing experience also provides you, the viewer, with the option to decide on the right experience for you. Crisp clean audio with an intimate audience, or big community, big screen extravaganza — the choice is yours.

Personally, I like to take my kid-friendly fare in the airy escape of a big venue. But an artfully crafted Peele masterpiece? I’ll take the detailed sound and pristine picture of a more controlled intimate venue please, but maybe you like to feel the energy of many people reacting to the same scare or laugh. I think the fact that each viewing experience is so distinctly unique, but equally local in character is what is so fun about this new addition to NCTS’s offerings.

Come down to 225 Hall St. to experience The Shoebox for yourself. The intimate venue is also the perfect location for your private rental. Whether hooking up a gaming system, playing a personal or Reo’s DVD/Blu-Ray, or buying out all 20 seats for a private screening of the current theatrical release, you will feel like a VIP.

Other events to watch out for this week at The Civic Theatre are NDAC’s Mural Fest screening of Agnès Varda’s, Faces Places and the 40th Anniversary DCP restored classic, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Visit for showtimes and be sure to check for the location in the name for the proper screen for the showing. We look forward to welcoming you to the precursor to our future expansion at The Shoebox Theatre.

Jason Asbell is programming director for The Civic and Shoebox Theatre.