April 5 production an ‘urgent effort’ to keep movies going at Farris

By Sara Seidel/For The Richmond News

In an effort to keep movies showing at the Farris Theatre, a show featuring snips and clips from Hollywood’s favorite films will premiere April 5 at the historic venue.

The show will feature area residents singing, dancing and acting their way through famous scenes from the silver screen, according to producer Sherry Smith.

“The performers are all local talents who have agreed to take the stage to help the Friends of the Farris in an urgent effort,” Smith said.

That effort is designed to raise between $80,000 and $100,000 to convert the theater’s film projection equipment to a digital format, according to Friends board president Rob Swafford. Although theatres across the U.S. have been making the switch, the effort became more pressing earlier this year when one of the major film studios announced it would immediately stop making film copies of movies.

“The studios have been releasing fewer and fewer movies on film,” Swafford said. “We hoped we had more time to raise the funds, but our time frame just got bumped up.”

Smith said it made sense to put together a show featuring movie snippets. So she and fellow board member Max Hockemeier, who together produced earlier shows such as Dancing with the Town and Yee Haw, got to work.

“We’ve gathered a great group of performers who will offer fun, uplifting performances designed to appeal to all ages,” Smith said.

The performers include students and teachers from Richmond’s elementary, middle and high schools; employees of local businesses including Ray-Carroll Co-op; staff members, nurses and doctors from Ray County Memorial Hospital and Shirkey’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; and a variety of other local personalities.

“There will be singers, dancers, jokers and monsters,” Hockemeier said.

Smith said audience members will be invited to vote for their favorite performers, with vote totals tallied by dollars and cents contributed to each act’s ballot box.

Also during the show, audience members will be invited to purchase raffle tickets for a basket filled with movie-related items, including tickets to events at the Farris.

A silent auction featuring popular movie posters and other memorabilia will also take place in the Friends Gallery. Beverages served by Hometown Pizza will be available there.

“All proceeds will go toward the purchase of the digital projection equipment,” Smith said.

Swafford said an anonymous donation of $25,000 got the fundraising effort started, and additional efforts have brought the fundraising effort to about $35,000 to date.

As soon as the Friends of the Farris raise sufficient funds, the board plans to order and install the digital projection equipment and resume showing movies, the board members say.

Tickets for the show are $10 for general admission seats.

The show will begin at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. The silent auction will begin at 5 p.m.

“We’re having a great time putting this show together,” Smith said. “We’re looking forward to sharing this show with the audience, so the Farris can keep sharing films.”

Hockemeier added, “Good seats go fast, so arrive early, grab a seat, then stop by the Friends Gallery for the silent auction and a beverage from Hometown.”




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