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The Savoy Theater needs your help!

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Update: June 25th:
Last week I was able to pay the contractors half of what they are still owed. It felt good to be able to start paying that down. Their part of the work was completed in mid February, so they have been very accommodating! There is still quite a bit owed on the furniture and fixtures and for one or two films we played earlier in the year as well.

This week I also met with a couple of local people to consult about different ways to promote what we do here and continue to stay connected to the community through screenings and events. Last night we had a great event featuring a short film by a local filmmaker followed by a talk and Q&A session. This is the kind of community-based programming we want to continue to bring to our area - thank you for supporting us!

The Situation
Last year as many of you know Montpelier was flooded and our downtown was shuttered for an extended period of time as the community came together to help with the clean-up and rebuilding of our devastated downtown. As a result of the flood, the Savoy lost all of the contents of our second theater space, which was located in the basement. Following a successful Go Fund Me campaign last year along with some small grants from the city and state and some other fundraising we were able to raise enough to keep us going through the rebuilding period, and also put some money aside to go towards the reconstruction process. It was a long road back and we were finally able to reopen the downstairs room this past April.

I am very pleased with the result of the newly rebuilt downstairs theater space. It is more functional than the previous space and feels more like a dedicated theater than before. There is also a stage for performances now making it a more versatile venue and I am looking forward to bringing in some live events possibly, in addition to showing a wider variety of films.

Most importantly, we were able to rebuild in a way that it is ready if there should be another future high-water event with most of the furniture and fixtures easily removable up to the main floor, which was not impacted in the flood last year. The walls are made of a plastic material and the insulation and floors are all removable and can be dried or easily replaced at minimal cost.

A change of plans
My original goal was to begin renovations on the upstairs theater space this year as it is also long overdue for an upgrade. But the extended time it took to complete the downstairs theater, the additional costs involved, and the reduced revenue from only having one screen for the eight months, have put that project on hold. We will need a second bathroom upstairs to replace the one we lost downstairs, and our air-conditioning system is still in need of repair.

Unfortunately it has continued to be slow and now we are looking at both a shortfall in revenue, as well as money still owed for portions of the rebuilding that we were forced to defer due to lack of sufficient funds after all of the previous money had been used up getting us through the year. Specifically, we still owe the contractors just over $7,500., the new couches were $3300., the new projector was another $2200., and the new floors were close to $2500.. There were also multiple additional costs involved in the finishing of the project and on top of this we have daily operating costs and some money still owed on other accounts. Once again, the numbers are not in our favor.

Why I won't give up now
This September will mark eight years that I have been the owner of the Savoy and ten years since I first started working there as a projectionist. it has in many ways become a second home to me and I have seen it survive covid, and now of course the flood. Throughout all of those years it has never been easy to make the numbers work and yet we are still here and I believe that is because our community loves this theater as much as I do.

Since reopening last September we have hosted many community-based screening events and I have also seen people returning to the movies in numbers I have not seen since before covid. We regularly host school groups and other special programming that has value to the community and this theater has a place in the hearts of many people who still remember films they saw here years ago. I am one of those people and it is my continued goal to bring interesting and unique cinema-based events to our area as well as new independent films that challenge and enlighten, and also entertain.

Please help us stay alive!
So won't you please consider making a donation to help us stay alive this year? The film industry continues to struggle and small theaters like ours are becoming a remnant of the past. Please do not let the Savoy become a memory. Our unique theater space has been a fixture in Montpelier for the last 43 years! Your donation can go towards helping to cover the cost of any of the above listed items. For instance, the couches cost around $300. each, so you could sponsor a couch!

If you are already a member or have been a consistent supporter, please consider passing this campaign along to anyone you know who may want to contribute.

Thank you,

James O'Hanlon


  • Martin Irons
    • $42 
    • 2 d
  • Wendy Little
    • $15 
    • 6 d
  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 6 d
  • Lindy Biggs
    • $100 
    • 7 d
  • Paul Carnahan
    • $50 
    • 9 d


James O'Hanlon
Montpelier, VT

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