The Schuyler Enrichment Foundation has put a lot of elbow grease into keeping the Colfax Theater doors open.
In 2002 a survey conducted by Schuyler Central High School revealed a want for cinematic entertainment in Schuyler. Work began to renovate the Sky Theater which had been closed for decades.
After about five years, the Colfax Theater opened its doors to reintroduce Schuyler to a form of entertainment the town hadn’t seen in years. As time passed, more technological advances such as a digital projector in 2013 and a hearing loop in 2014.
The only problem is attendance.
Enrichment member Guadalupe Marino said the Foundation has been changing features in the theater to elevate numbers.
“We have been trying to figure out a way to connect Spanish speakers and the movies,” Marino said. “We have had a few options to show movies in Spanish and we think that may help to bring more people in. There are also a few new concession choices for people to try out. We have been trying everything we can.”
Member Sally Jakub said the language barrier at the movies may be a thing of the past.
“I recently got an email from a company called Theater Ears,” Jakub said. “It’s an application for a smart phone device that anyone can download. What it does is you choose the language you want to hear, and the movie, and you can listen along with no problem. But there isn’t just Spanish. There’s a lot of different languages. This may be a new interesting asset.”
Marino said the app and a movie in the Spanish language may be available for Colfax Theater in January.
While one movie is shown per month, Jakub said this still leaves an option open for Schuyler.
“We show the exact same movies as Columbus, but they just come out later,” Jakub said. “So Schuyler has the choice to either wait or run to Columbus to watch the latest movies. But we are just five minutes away from anyone’s house. The theater is right here.”
Jakub went on to say that while the Foundation wants to do more with the Theater, and to keep it open, “there just aren’t enough people that show up. There are a lot of bills and hidden expenses that people don’t realize. It takes money to run the theater and that money comes from donations and people filling the seats.”
Money remains in the accounts for the Colfax Theater. However, Schuyler Enrichment Foundation president John Sayer that line is being stretched tightly as of late.
“Every month 130 kids come from the elementary school to see a show,” Sayer said. “That does help a lot. We just lose money every year that the theater has been open and while the money is still there, the foundation doesn’t want to go below a certain amount. Out of the 15 years it’s been open we have only broken even twice.”
Sayer said the theater will be offering two matinees next month to hopefully fill more seats.
“I wish the theater could be open all the time, but that just isn’t working right now,” Sayer said. The bottom line is we need people in the seats and volunteers. I just hope we can stay open.”
A decision will be made in approximately six months as to whether or not to close the Colfax Theater.
The Schuyler Enrichment Foundation welcomes comments and suggestions from the public in this matter. All interested volunteers are welcome to contact Sally Jakub for more information. Paid manager positions are also available.