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Local theaters staying afloat while closed amid pandemic

Posted at 8:16 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 23:16:55-04

TULSA, Okla. — Restaurants and shops aren’t the only businesses taking a hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Local theaters are also struggling.

Jere Uncapher has worked at the Spotlight Theatre in Tulsa for more than 60 years.

“I live for the weekends," he said. "Been stage managing for about 40 years so. If I don’t do that I’m climbing the walls.”

The theater’s last show was March 14. Its performances rely on audience participation. And with no audience to perform for, it’s struggling.

“The show’s been off, but the bills keep coming in," Uncapher said. "The board has helped. We’ve got some money in so we’ll be able to get our bills paid for the month, but we’ve got another month to go.”

Circle Cinema would normally be busy on a Friday night. But now, it’s closed for the first time in its 15 years of being a nonprofit cinema. To make up for lost profits, it’s selling t-shirts, membership programs, virtual screenings and even space on its marquee. People are putting up messages for occasions like birthdays, graduations and anniversaries.

“Even just inspirational messages for the community or acknowledging healthcare workers and local leaders through this pandemic," said Stephanie LaFevers, executive director of Circle Cinema Foundation.

Both theaters aren’t sure when they’ll re-open, but they can’t wait until they do and hope the community will support them.

“Arts keeps us entertained, keeps people engaged and just aware," LaFevers said. "And so, it’s just important. It’s important to support all community organizations.”

You can get more information on The Spotlight Theatre here and Circle Cinema here.

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