Posted: 12/29/2021 17:01:50 PM
Modified: 12/29/2021 17:01:25 PM
After more than a decade of fundraising and planning, Jaffrey’s Park Theater opened in August as a movie theater and performance venue.
In the five months since its opening, it has welcomed over 5,000 visitors]to see films and artists.
âI couldn’t be happier personally, and I know there are so many people who have worked there tirelessly for 20 years. I’m so happy for these people. That’s a hackneyed understatement, but it’s absolutely true in this case that it’s a dream come true, âPark Theater CEO and General Manager Steve Jackson said.
The theater, a reconstructed creation of the once-on-Main Street building that originally opened in 1922, has faced the realities of operation and openness amid a pandemic, Jackson said, but despite this, still managed to find success, especially drawing crowds for his live shows.
The theater was fully booked when it hosted the group from Lanconia Recycled Percussion, and has had several shows with over 200 guests, and even more with over 100 since it opened in August, Jackson said.
âIt’s clear the weather with the pandemic has hit us as well as any theater or business, but people still have a desire to get together safely and have fun together,â Jackson said.
The theater has hosted a handful of new Hollywood releases, including “In the Heights”, “Space Jam 2” and the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die”. It is preparing to open the new Steven Spielberg-directed remake of the classic musical “West Side Story” this week, but has also hosted smaller independent films and documentaries, interspersed with live musical acts. Jackson said balance seems to work for the theater and that he will continue to push his model forward.
Several of this year’s successful artists have already booked return shows for 2022, Jackson said, and the venue plans to continue hosting local and national performers.
âThe good news, if the question asked of nonprofits is, ‘Did you cover your costs? “And I can say that with our live shows we did that and were able to raise money for future programs and shows,” Jackson said. âWe are very fortunate for our volunteers and staff. If we didn’t have more than 50 volunteers and a very dedicated part-time staff, we would never be able to do this.
In 2022, the theater hopes to continue building its presence in the community, including launching a new program, ParkARTS, which will include educational programs for children and adults in a variety of artistic mediums, including film and theater, Jackson said.
In May, the theater plans to host several events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the original theater, including special events, films, concerts and historical events. This year, the theater, as a non-profit organization, is also taking the helm in planning the Jaffrey’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and surrounding festivities, with a week of films or shows from or about of Ireland, and produced the annual parade on March 12.
You can reach Ashley Saari at 924-7172 ext. 244 or [email protected] She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.