Students interested in going to the movies are going to have to look beyond Images Cinema for the next month. The theater is currently undergoing a month-long renovation project which will include converting Images into a Spring Street storefront. Construction began last Thursday and is scheduled to be completed by the first week of December.
Planning for the revamp began last October after a community survey revealed popular support for updating the cinema’s facilities. The board of directors decided that the theater’s 10th anniversary, which occurs this year, presented the ideal oppurtunity to remodel the theater.
In the past year, Images has undertaken successful fundraising efforts to finance the project. All of the donations have been from individuals and other businesses. As of this week, Images needs only $30,000 more to achieve the roughly $200,000 the project will cost.
Last January, the retail space in front of Images became available, leaving the Spring Street storefront area up for lease. The cinema’s owners took a short-term lease before making a more permanent financial commitment to the space, allowing for the renovation to take place. The original theater that opened in 1916 used that space as its entrance before the owner divided the building in the 1980s. The storefront space still sports the floor tiling and crown molding from the original theater. “It has been a dream for many years to regain the entrance,” said Sandra Thomas, executive director at Images.
After the renovations, patrons will enter directly from Spring Street and buy tickets in a new box office located in the place of the original one from 1916. The current box office and concessions space will be converted into a handicapped bathroom. The project also involves replacing the carpeting, ceiling tiles and seats in the theater and updating the sound system.
The expanded lobby will offer more room for Images events and an expanded concessions counter. It will also provide a venue for monthly art showcases by students.
Images does not yet know what movie it will screen in its reopening week but Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman’s new film, and Australia, Baz Luhrman’s epic, are under consideration. When deciding which films to screen, Images management considers both which movies are available and suggestions from students and Williamstown residents.
Once Images reopens, the theater looks forward to furthering community connections, Thomas said. Cinema staff are currently in the process of planning two events: a gay and lesbian film series in January and a French film series in February.