The show will go on for a 100-year-old Forest Theatre set to undergo a major expansion.
The Kiwanis Club of Forest has kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise nearly half a million dollars for renovations at their Kineto Theatre.
Campaign co-chair Ruth Illman said the club recently purchased an adjacent flower shop to expand and upgrade the historic landmark.
“So on the main level, there will be a new lobby, concession, coffee bar, ticket booth area, as well as accessible washrooms, and that’s one of the prime reasons for the project is to improve accessibility . There will be a community space in the upper level as well.”
Illman said the other part of the project will see upgrades to the theatre’s lower level, which involves updating their kitchen to a more industrial facility, serving area, improving their serving area and accessible community room.
“The rationale for all of this, yes, it is accessibility , yes, it is health and safety and having a serviceable kitchen, but it’s going to allow us to expand our programming, it’s going to allow rental groups to be able use the kitchen facility. It will also allow us to do more food related events along with films.”
Illman said they’ve already raised $200,000 of their $475,000 goal thanks to donations from the Municipality of Lambton Shores, the Alix Foundation and others.
She said they hope to reach their goal by November 1 to improve one of the oldest continuously operating movie theatres in North America.
“It’s a community pub with all kinds of things going on there. We don’t just show movies– we have concerts, we have film festivals, we rent out our facility for birthday parties, Santa Claus comes in after the parade and hands out candy. All sorts of stuff.”
The Kineto Theatre opened in 1917 after the Rumford family converted the facility into a theatre.
The Kiwanis Club of Forest purchased the theatre from the Rumfords in 1977, and have owned and operated the facility since.