CHATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Crandell Theatre board of directors announced that it has raised $2 million of its $3 million Capital Campaign to renovate the theater and establish an endowment to sustain the theater in the future. One million dollars has been raised towards the renovation cost of $2 million, and an initial pledge of $1 million has been received for the endowment.
The theater renovation will include upgrading the audio system and expansion of the lobby and concession area. Also, it will modernize restrooms, replace seats, and create a functional staff workspace and storage.
The Crandell is currently closed because of the pandemic. The board anticipates reopening the theatre in summer 2021 (based upon state health guidelines and financial feasibility) and producing the FilmColumbia Festival in the fall. Depending upon the progress of the fundraising campaign, construction is scheduled for January 2022, which would allow it to reopen in time for FilmColumbia in late 2022.
“We are very much aware of the important role the Crandell plays in the community and in the region,” Lydia Kukoff, president of the board of directors, said. “The Crandell has provided a vibrant beacon on Main Street, Chatham, for nearly 100 years. We look forward to preserving the historic character of the Crandell while enhancing the current movie viewer’s experience.”
The Crandell, located on Main Street in Chatham, was built in 1926 as a venue for traveling vaudeville shows and movies, then America’s principal mode of popular entertainment. In 1929, sound speakers were added in order to screen “talkies.” The Spanish Renaissance–style building has been largely unchanged since it opened.
With over 500 seats, the Crandell is among the few remaining single-screen movie theaters in the country. For 50 years the theater was owned by the Quirino family. In 2010, the Crandell was purchased by the Chatham Film Club, with generous contributions from the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, Judy Grunberg, and Lael Locke, who led the community effort to save the historic theater.