Fulton Theatre Restoration

1 decade 7 months 4 days ago February 23, 2006 Feb 23, 2006 Thursday, February 23 2006 Thursday, February 23, 2006 4:10:51 PM CST in News

It started in 1928 and has evolved into a modern, two-screen cinema. Some Fulton residents visit the theatre for the latest entertainment. But, for some of Callaway County's older residents, the theatre they remember is one from the past.

"Well, when we were young, it was hard to get the nickel to go to the show on," recalled Margaret Stack of Fulton.

Although it costs about 100 nickels to see a movie now, some Fulton residents are trying to restore the theatre by bringing back the feel of the early 20th century.

B&B Theaters owns the historic landmark now, but will donate the building to the community as soon as the company moves to a new location. The non-profit Callaway Arts Council has already started forming a live band, choir and theatre group that will eventually perform in the old cinema.

"There's an ABC in our organization. It's about the arts, it's about the building and it's about the community," said the art council's Tom Clapp.

"We are in the beginning stages of a major phone campaign right now to recruit singers from local churches and individual talent," added Marlene Railton, chairperson of the Community Choral.

The Callaway Arts Council has 15 committees, some to find local talent and others to raise money. The council will hold its first fundraiser in April and also launch a capital campaign.

"It's going to be a lot of money," Clapp said. "We will all be begging quite regularly."

The Fulton Theater has had two renovations in its nearly 80 years. This time, one of the first steps is to remove the big screen in order to open up the stage and restore the theatre to its original beauty of the 1920s and '30s.

In addition, major physical changes will include fixing floors, replacing chairs and repainting.

"I think it'd be great. There are so many programs that could be held there if it's restored," Clapp said, "not just by the seniors, but by a lot of people of Callaway County."

Clapp says it will take 4-5 years before residents can see any changes.

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