Since film industry announced that it would no longer be offering film prints and would be changing over to only digital media by the end of 2012, owners and supporters of Dagsboro’s Clayton Theatre have been working hard to raise the approximate $100,000 to convert to the new technology.
“The response has been phenomenal,” said Joanne Howe, who owns the Clayton Theatre. “The community is just turning out in droves. We’re getting phone calls every day. People are coming by every day offering their services. We’ve had so many people come by.”
Howe said the community has come out of the woodwork to try and help the theater raise the funds, and on March 15 from 6 to 11 p.m., the Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department will host a St. Patrick’s Beef & Brew to benefit the theater.
“We were talking with some people at the fire department, and they really wanted to do something to help us out. So we decided to put this together,” explained Howe. “They’re going to be serving sliced roast beef sandwiches, coleslaw and other side dishes. Of course, we’ll have beer and sodas. I think they’ll also have hot dogs for people who don’t want the beef sandwiches.”
Those who attend the event will be able to enjoy music, raffles and, of course, the food.
“Brian K. Hall, who lives in Dagsboro, is going to be the D.J. for the night,” said Howe. “We’re also going to have silent and live auctions, and a 50-50 raffle. There will also be some games and some other things going on throughout the night. I think it’s going to be a really fun night.”
For the live and silent auctions, Howe said a number of area businesses have donated items to help raise funds.
“So far, we have some golf packages, some restaurants… We have spa baskets from different spas around town. We’re going to have some baked goods that we’re going to be raffling off. Some people in town who make some really outstanding pies and cakes are donating those.
“A law office is donating a will,” she continued. “Physical therapy places are donating some exercise and physical therapy programs. It’s kind of a conglomeration of things, but they’re all great things to auction off.”
Tickets to the event cost $30 per person if purchased in advance at the theater or fire hall, or $35 if purchased at the door. The proceeds will be split between the fire department and the theater.
“It just sounds like we’re going have a really great time. It’ll be a win-win for both of us. They’ll make some money, and the theater will make some money.”
Howe is also in the process of organizing a 1950s-themed fundraiser, to be held at the theater in May.
“Right now, we’re in the process of planning an event to be held, hopefully, in May, involving a group called ‘Oh, Boy!’ They play a tribute to Buddy Holly. We’ll have them onstage at the theater one night in May, performing their show, a tribute to Buddy Holly. We’re hoping to do a whole ’50s-themed night, bring in some of the car clubs around the area and have them put their cars out around the theater, so people can come and enjoy the cars and see the show.”
Howe said that many people in the community have offered to help with the digital conversion effort, from local citizens to local businesses.
“James Meehan, who is an author and has written several books about Delaware and the seashore areas, has offered the proceeds from the next 100 books he sells to go to the theater,” said Howe. “We have T-shirts coming in. They’ll have the Clayton Theatre logo and ‘Established 1949’ on the front pocket area, but the shirts don’t have pockets.
“On the back, we will have a picture of the Clayton Theatre that was done by a local artist many years ago. Then, we have an airplane flying above it with a banner that says, ‘Save the Clayton Theatre.’ There are just so many things going on, so many people offering their assistance.”