Letter About Pleasant St. Theater
June 1, 2012
The Pleasant Street Theater, a destination for art house film since the mid-1970s, will close on June 8. It is hard to imagine downtown Northampton without it.
After its former owner closed the Pleasant Street Theater in 2007, the independent Amherst Cinema Arts Center – a member-supported nonprofit – reopened the theater under its umbrella, with an outpouring of support from film lovers all over the world. And because of this, we had over four years of quality independent, foreign, quirky, Academy Award-winning films.
In the past year, however, it has become apparent that the beloved theater can no longer keep up with the times. Today’s audiences expect good sight lines and a comfortable theater-going environment, two things the size and configuration of the Pleasant Street Theater make impossible. It is not handicapped accessible and cannot be made so. And, in addition to that, we are looking at significant expenditures just to stay current with new projection technology that is essential for vibrant arts programming.
We gave it our all during the past four years, and evaluated numerous options for continuing to keep the Pleasant Street Theater open. In the end, the decision to close came down to how we could best use our future resources to meet the demands of our expanding regional audience.
Our Valley loves film! The Amherst Cinema Arts Center has become a regional arts organization with an active member base of 2,500 that spans the entire Pioneer Valley and draws from a 25-mile radius and beyond. We’re an integral part of our region’s critically important cultural economy, working with the many arts organizations, museums, nonprofits, schools, colleges and businesses that make the Pioneer Valley such a treasured place to live and visit.
We are grateful to everyone – film lovers, supporters and believers in the power of independent cinema – who helped keep the Pleasant Street Theater alive these last four years. We will do our best to carry on the theater’s legacy.
As a special farewell, we are offering free screenings all day on June 8 of Peter Bogdanovich’s 1971 classic, “The Last Picture Show.” This coming-of-age story set in a dying Texas town in 1951 features Jeff Bridges, Cybill Sheperd, Ellen Burstyn and Cloris Leachman. The 7:00 pm show will include a tribute to those who were instrumental in the Pleasant Street Theater’s history and who helped nurture independent film in our Valley. Tickets for all June 8 shows are available at the box office and online, www.amherstcinema.org.
We invite you to be a part of the future of independent film in the Valley by becoming a Member of our nonprofit (join online or at the box office) and helping us bring the best in cinema to the Valley!
Executive Director, Amherst Cinema Arts Center
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