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Fairbury, NE: Non-Profit Group Purchases Bonham Theatre

Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 9:38 AM and updated on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 11:08 AM

The Bonham Theater in Fairbury, Nebraska closed August 2, 2012 after the theater's owner decided that he couldn't pay the costs of converting the two-screen theater to Digital Cinema Projection systems. (read the Journal article)

The building was sold to a non-profit group, The Bonham Theatre Project, on January 4, 2013 at a sheriff's sale, according to an article in the Lincoln Journal Star:

The underbelly of the Bonham Theatre marquee has gaping holes and needs repairs, as do the roof, furnace, box office and concession stand, sound and projection systems, bathrooms and fire exits.The Bonham Theatre Project Board, a community group organized in October, knew it had a white elephant on its hands when it bought the 87-year-old building at a sheriff's sale Jan. 4. Not surprisingly, it was the only bidder.

"We're a small town that needs a theater and not let another building rot," board member Brooke Schwab said during a recent tour of the two-story building just off the courthouse square.

Click the Read link below to view the full article and some recent photos.

According to an article published in The Fairbury Journal-News, the theater sold for the minimum bid of $24,550, and the group was the only bidder.

The Lincoln Journal-Star mentions that they are hoping to raise $250,000-$300,000 to restore the theater. They are hoping for donations, not only of cash, but also of time, materials, and even livestock, to reach their goal. If you would like to get involved, check out the group's Facebook page for more information.

The theater was built in 1926 as a result of a collaboration between local investors and Universal Pictures. While it's not possible for movie studios to be involved in movie theaters any longer, the theater's best chance for success is the combination of local support and a grant from Save America's Cinemas, which is a non-profit group whose goal is to help small-town cinemas convert to the new projection systems.

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