After years of planning, and about nine months of construction, the second cinema for the Orpheum Theatre is now open.
The new cinema, or Cinema 2, opened on March 7; the first flick shown in the 168-seat venue was the George Clooney war movie The Monuments Men.
“It's a project that we've been working on for a long time, so it's great to have it finally come to an end,” co-owner Jocelyn Dougherty told Lifestyles.
Cinema 2 features deluxe seats with rockers that people should find comfortable and relaxing, Dougherty said. The top half of the new theatre offers stadium seating, and the rows just beneath the stadium-style seats are wheelchair accessible, so customers in wheelchairs won't have to sit in the front rows.
Other highlights of the second cinema include 7.1 Dolby surround sound and acoustic panels along the walls. It can also show digital and 3-D movies.
“A person could possibly rent it during the day for presentations, for company safety seminars, because we can hook up a laptop computer wirelessly to the projector,” said Dougherty.
The existing cinema, or Cinema 1, has also been upgraded to 7.1 Dolby surround sound, and both cinemas offer wireless assistive hearing devices.
Dougherty said people are impressed when they see Cinema 2.
“They're surprised how large it is, based on how it looks from the outside,” said Dougherty. “The ones who haven't seen it are excited that there will be two choices now for movies, and they're happy that we're going have another screen.”
The Orpheum will now be able to show at least two movies each week. Dougherty said they could have a blockbuster movie open for a week in Cinema 1, and then hold it over for a second week in Cinema 2.
“Sometimes we let the movies go (after one week), instead of having a movie for two weeks,” said Dougherty. “Now there could be a second week, if people want to see it, or see it again.”
Or they can have a couple movies in each cinema in each week, for a total of four films, and they might even offer a children's matinee for a fifth movie.
The second cinema isn't the only change at the Orpheum. The lobby, concession and the box office were gutted and renovated. The concession has been redesigned and expanded.
And the basement has been renovated, with new men's and women's washrooms. The women's washroom was moved from the main floor to the basement area. The washroom on the main floor is now a wheelchair-accessible and family washroom.
Some finishing touches remain with the project. Murals need to be added, and a marquee for the box office has to be completed. But Dougherty said the bulk of the work is finished.
The Orpheum will celebrate both the project's completion and its centennial year in April. There will be activities from April 4 to 6, highlighted by a ceremonial cutting of a film strip on the 6th, which is the Orpheum's birthday.
A pianist and a score compiler for silent movies will be flown in for the bash.
Silent films and classic movies will be shown in the days following the 100th birthday bash.
There will be a pair of concerts, too. Renowned Saskatchewan blues guitarist Jack Semple will perform on April 11. And Canadian rock band Glass Tiger, whose hits include Don't Forget Me, will be at the Orpheum the following night.