“Old theatres are irreplaceable...I think a town’s old theatres are the sanctuary of its dreams.” - Roger Ebert
On March 15th the historic Rose Theatre in Port Townsend, WA shut its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no re-opening date in sight. There is no additional federal funding. Without help the Rose Theatre will remain closed forever.
Since mid-March we have been able to cover fixed expenses with savings, 3 loans, 1 federal grant, 4 movie theater grants, temporary rent abatement, donations, movie streaming, and gift card, membership and popcorn sales. But it's not enough. (Our federal PPP loan application was denied). This GoFundMe goal would sustain us for six months.
The Rose opened in 1907 as a vaudeville house; it has seen the transition from silent film to talkies, and from Technicolor to digital projection. Located in the heart Port Townsend's National Historic District, it serves as one of the major cultural hubs of the Olympic Peninsula, offering a wide variety of independent, classic, foreign and Hollywood films, in addition to simulcasts from New York's Metropolitan Opera, Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet and plays from the National Theatre of London; as well as an annual dance film festival and arts film series. It also serves as the hub for the annual Port Townsend Film Festival.
With its three screens, including the intimate Starlight Room, the Rose brings stories from around the globe to its little corner of the world. Every film is personally introduced; you'll find local cider, beer and kombucha on tap, not to mention popcorn with real butter. (More about the Rose here and here and here and here and here ).
What Will Donations Be Used For?
Funds from this campaign will directly cover fixed monthly expenses - rent, insurance, utilities, phone, internet, accounting, bookkeeping, security, plus wages for three remaining employees. We don't know how long this state-mandated closure will last; our current fundraising goal would cover expenses until February 2021.
Why Can't The Rose Open to Partial Audiences?
Jefferson County, WA remains in Phase 2 of the state's phased re-opening for businesses. With Phase 3, movie theaters will be allowed to operate, but only at 25% capacity. Between all 3 of our screens, even a "sell out" would equal only 69 people. Operating expenses would exceed income. It's a no-win scenario. We cannot open until we can comfortably and safely invite audiences in with at least 50% capacity. We love our community and staff and will only open when it is safe and advisable. It is very possible that we may not re-open until 2021.
...But Do Movie Theaters Even Matter Anymore?
There are all kinds of ways to experience art, but we believe sometimes you should enjoy it collectively. The Rose is more than just a movie theater: it is a nexus for the Port Townsend community. We have employed nearly 300 local residents since we renovated and re-opened in 1992. We have hosted weddings, lectures, recitals, memorials, concerts and more. Our popcorn is a frequent dinner for the denizens of P.T. - even if they're not seeing the show. Movies today are viewed on screens of all sizes (and you can stream some of ours at home!), but there is a certain movie magic that can only be experienced as the directors/writers/actors/editors intended it - on the big screen and shared with others. We think the Rose still matters, and hope you do too.
Other Ways to Help?
-Stream movies via www.rosetheatre.com! Not only is there a curated selection of excellent independent fare, updated weekly, but half of every ticket directly supports the theatre. You can stream from anywhere!
-Share this campaign with your friends.
-We're currently open every Saturday, selling popcorn from 2:00 - 5:00 at 235 Taylor Street, and would love to say hello.
Who We Are
The Rose is a family-owned business. In 1992 Rocky Friedman re-opened the darkened cinema after building owner and contractor Phil Johnson did a meticulous restoration. His daughter, who began tearing tickets when she was 12, assists with the business from her home in New York, where she works as an actress. We have a spectacular staff, some of whom have been with us for over 10 years, and all of us thank you from the bottom of our celluloid hearts for your support.
Since we began streaming movies on our website this spring, we've developed a plan to create a fully integrated online film library, with the same thoughtful curation you'll find on our screens, but available to audiences everywhere. We're hoping to provide a seamless viewing experience, with unique film categories and discounts for our members. Stay tuned for updates.
Port Townsend is known as "The City of Dreams" and by contributing to this fund, you will directly aid in preserving the sanctuary of those dreams.
- Jim and Jo Ann Roberts
- Alan JOHANSON
- Patrick Muckleroy
- Marie Sayler