The gauntlet was thrown down last week by movie fans when more than 50 people showed up to a loosely organized meeting at the Best Western. At the eleventh hour, it appears there are many in this community who want to keep the Civic Theatre showing movies.
With time running out, it remains an underdog tale. The odds stacked against the effort are daunting and even the woman who took up the charge is a longshot leader.
“I’m a Mrs. Nobody,” Cindy Sherry told the Star on Saturday while gathering signatures in front of the Civic Theatre. “I’ve been here for 20 years, but I have been busy helping my husband with his business and I still have two children at home.”
Sherry is no longer a Mrs. Nobody and for this effort seems to be the perfect leader.
If the Civic Theatre is to remain a movie house then it must be a product of the people. This is not about politics or trying to build a profile in the community, it’s about keeping history alive in a world that seems to be constantly slamming the door on tradition.
The most difficult part of this storyline is the position the Downtown Athletic Club proponents find themselves in. Their proposal is solid and in many ways a perfect fit for a facility from a bygone era. Sherry has been very clear that the passion to keep films running on Vernon Street has nothing to do with the “nice fellas” who want to see it turned into a squash/climbing wall facility. Nor should it.
The athletic club crew deserve to be treated fairly, but if the theatre is to actually be saved it is going to take an extension beyond May 31. The ball will then be served into city council’s court. If politicians throw their trust behind what the movie buffs can muster at that point, it will put the Downtown Athletic Club plan in serious jeopardy. Is that fair?
In the 1950s the Capitol Theatre fell into disrepair and was lost to the community. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that a group of culture loving underdogs took on a project to bring it back to life. It would be hard to imagine this community without its cultural centrepiece. Is the Civic Theatre destined for a similar revival? We’ll soon find out.