The theatre business may be under threat from people’s big-screen televisions, but the Salmar Community Association is still holding its own.
The association operates the Salmar Grand and Classic cinemas, with the profits being directed back into the community. This year, the group dispensed a total of $6,331 in grants to other non-profit groups including the Children’s Festival, Community Foundation, Caravan Farm Theatre, Storefront school and Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association. In addition, the organization awarded $14,000 in scholarships to seven students.
It was also noted that the association also contributes to the community in a wide range of other ways. This includes providing space for the Second Harvest Food Bank, providing the theatres at nominal rents for community fundraising and offering more than 350 free movie passes for other non-profit groups to use as prizes or incentives.
The association, which reduced movie ticket prices last year, has decided to hold the line on prices for the coming season, helping to keep prices at some of the lowest levels in the province.
In the annual report, attendance is up four per cent at the Salmar Grand, but down 16 per cent at the Salmar Classic Theatre.
“I think this is the first time in theatrical history that there is a strong alternative with things like Netflix, but it doesn’t erase the fact that people, especially young people, want to get out of the house. Things may be down a bit, but the theatre is still a popular choice for entertainment,” said director Bernd Hermanski.
Over the past two years, the Salmar has invested $520,000 in upgrades to the theatres including the installation of digital projection, 3D capabilities, hearing impaired equipment, new seats and stadium seating in one of the Salmar Grand theatres.
This has proven very popular, with the board now considering revamping a second cinema with the tiered seats.
Manager Daila Duford also commented how the theatre was the winner of the BC Hydro Energy Efficient Lighting upgrade contest. The $5,000 prize was used to replace all the lights in the Salmar Grand lobby, hallways and washrooms, and to upgrade the Christmas lights on the exterior of the building.
“We estimate to save up to $1,500 a year in energy costs,” she writes in her report.