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Four businessmen hope to upgrade the theater and add live music to the lineup.
The Roanoke Times | File January
Radford Theatre closed earlier this year, after former owner Frankie Kirk announced he wanted to retire.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Four businessmen plan to reopen the beloved, single-screen Radford Theatre, and upgrade both its facilities and its offerings.
Paul Pallente, Josh Riggs, James Houston and Mohsin Kazmi are partners in the new venture, which if successful will save a landmark movie house that dates to the 1930s.
The business closed earlier this year, after former owner Frankie Kirk announced he wanted to retire. Kirk bought the theater in 1983 after spending more than 20 years working at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg.
According to the Facebook page, the theater will be upgraded and will show not only movies, but present live music and staged theater productions.
The Lyric, also a single-screen movie house that dates to 1930 languished in the '90s until a community group formed to reopen it as a nonprofit.
In recent years, the Lyric has expanded its offerings from second-run box office movies and foreign, independent and art house films to big-name live music acts like the Indigo Girls. The theater is also working with the soon-to-open Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech on future programming.
The Lyric, supported by a nonprofit foundation, has a small paid staff, but also relies on volunteers to operate. The Lyric has announced plans to install a $120,000 digital projector to keep up with the movie industry's change from 35mm film to digital, and is raising funds to help pay for it.
The Radford Theatre, while offering similar programming such as box-office movies and live music, will remain a for-profit business, Pallente said.
A group of the concerned patrons, spearheaded by the Main Street Radford Economic Restructuring Committee, held anopen meeting in January for the community to discuss the future of the theater. Main Street Radford Director Becky Haupt said at the time that the group plans to highlight ways the theater can remain profitable, with the hope of playing the role of buyer-seller matchmaker.
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