STIGLER — The community of Stigler is celebrating a successful fundraising effort to convert the Time Theater to digital, surpassing its goal of $100,000.
They saved their theater.
In December, Stigler resident Mitzi Woodson initiated an effort to raise the money needed to replace the theater's old 35 mm film projector with a new digital projection system and sound equipment.
Faced with the cost of conversion, the theater management had said it would have to close.
Movie showings have been sporadic at the Time Theater this year, because 2012 was the last year major motion picture studios provided movies on film. Some weekends, the main street attraction remains closed, but when the theater is able to get a movie on film, it opens and shows it.
“It's just extremely difficult to get 35 millimeter film now,” Woodson said. “But we fought it, and we'll have our movie theater.”
Raising $100,000 seemed daunting at first, Woodson said, but she never doubted that her community of 2,700 people would come through. A total of 500 donors contributed to the Save Our Theater effort, including 93 who gave $125 or more, she said. Donations ranged from $3 to $10,000.
The most successful part of the fundraising campaign was a massive outreach to Stigler High School alumni. The group contacted students from as far back as 1942, and donations were received from nearly all 50 states and even Afghanistan, where a Stigler resident is serving in the military, Woodson said.
Other fundraising efforts included a 5k run, a golf tournament and a pancake breakfast.
With the money raised, the city of Stigler is purchasing the equipment, which it will lease to the theater's management. The managers have set a date of June 15 to reopen the theater.
Woodson said admission will still be $6 a person, and popcorn will still cost a dollar.
“We are really excited about seeing this dream come true,” she said. “We knew Stigler could do it.”