Dayton Live (formerly known as the Victoria Theatre Association) will not produce a Cool Film Series this summer. Theater officials say there are a variety of reasons, including that the theater is currently unable to open due the coronavirus shutdown.
“With the Ohio executive order banning mass gatherings being open-ended, we are unable to work on new events until we get more clarity on what the plan is for live theaters,” Diane Schoeffler-Warren, manager of PR and marketing for Dayton Live, said.
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The shutdown is not the only reason for the series ending, however. Ty Sutton, president and CEO of Dayton Live, also cites a lack of content due to streaming services, as well as the rise of other free events, including film screenings at Levitt Pavilion.
“The numbers for the Film Series have gone down for years,” Sutton said. “And because of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, many titles are unavailable.”
“We were looking to do some special events this summer but we have put them on pause because we won’t have time to (program), sell or promote them,” Sutton continued. “The Cool Film Series may be in the plans for the future, but this year all of us in this industry are going to have to start and stop multiple times and be really flexible.”
Until it is permissible to have mass gatherings in Ohio, Dayton Live is not adding any programming.
A bit of history
In 1897, Daytonians got their first peek at motion pictures in downtown Dayton’s Victoria Theatre. Then it was known as the Grand Opera House, changing names to the Victory Theatre after WWI.
During the 1930s through the 1970s, showing movies was one of the primary functions of the Victory, until it was threatened to be bulldozed in 1975. After a successful preservation effort, the Victoria Theatre was reopened and focused primarily on live productions.
In the early 1980s, the Victoria Theatre Association started the Cool Film Series, in order to give audiences that old-time theatrical experience. They also mixed in newer films that were worth reliving on the big screen. The series ran during the summer, giving audiences a comfortable and cool escape from the heat.