The second annual New Mexico Historic Theaters Institute will take place at the newly rehabilitated Silco Theater on April 22 in Silver City. Sponsored by the NMMS’ New Mexico Historic Theaters Initiative, Silver City Main Street, and the Silco Theater, the Institute offers registrants “insider” information, networking and a backstage view of the challenges of operating a historic theater. Theater managers and professionals from around the state will gather to learn about Silver City’s successful project and compare notes.
After a $1 million rehabilitation that spanned nearly a decade, the 1923 Silco Theater reopened as a first-run movie house in February. New Mexico MainStreet capital outlay funds were instrumental in assisting the Town of Silver City purchase the Silco building in 2013. Silver City MainStreet worked in close partnership with the Town to raise funds from many sources and complete the rehabilitation project. Silver City MainStreet has leased the Silco Theater to operator and manager Chris Aquino, who is now offering current features to the community.
Among the more impressive features of the Silco project is a dramatic reconstruction of the theater marquee which now lights up Bullard Street every night. Original interior murals have been replicated and the stage proscenium repaired. The Silco Confectionary, the original concession area, has been upgraded. Support from the state LEDA fund assisted the Town in purchasing and installing digital projection and sound systems.
The Institute will include an overview of the New Mexico Historic Theaters Initiative, industry trends, host a manager’s roundtable, and tours of downtown Silver City’s Theater District. In addition to the Silco Theater, the Town boasts the El Sol Theater (1934), a former Spanish language cinema now being converted to a performing arts venue, and the vacant 1950 Gila Theater. The long-term goal for Silver City is to rehabilitate and re-open all three downtown theaters.
The Historic Theaters Institute is being offered in conjunction with the semi-annual New Mexico Arts & Cultural Districts meeting on April 21. The Institute will be held on April 22, 2016. Please register by April 18. Space is limited and registrations will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration does not include transportation, lodging and food. Please register here.