Colonial Theatre—Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
The Colonial has leaned on puns, riffing on movie titles by posting messages like “Don’t Stand by Me” and “No Close Encounters of any kind” on its marquee. “That usually takes two people. It takes a ladder, and sometimes hanging upside down,” said Michal Kortsarts, the theater’s marketing and communications director. “It’s a big event to get the marquee changed.”
As the theater’s first two messages went viral, it also started receiving submissions from its wordplay-happy followers. “We were starting to receive emails upon emails, Facebook messages, and Instagram private messages about it…every day, [we receive] at least 10 to 15 submissions,” said Kortsarts. There have been so many that she’s started photoshopping different versions of the marquee, showing off winning submissions like “When Harry Met Sally on Zoom” and “The Social Distance Network” on the theater’s Instagram account.
Though the theater has had to furlough concessions and hourly workers, about eight full-time staffers have been able to stay on board, working to make sure the theater can be reopened at any moment. In the meantime, the theater has been asking for donations and hosting a variety of quirky virtual screenings, including a compilation of cat videos and a documentary about mushrooms. “We’re really trying to scrutinize which titles we add to our virtual screening offerings to really match our mission,” said Kortsarts—which is “to celebrate the weird and celebrate the offbeat.”