RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Over the last five years, Ridgefield resident Valerie Jensen has been working tirelessly to bring her town a movie theater, and coming soon is a theater near you.
Jensen, founder of the Prospector Theater , said she doesn’t have an opening date yet. But starting later this month, the theater will be hosting soft events for the employees to help them run-though the work process.
When it does open, the theater will show everything from first-run movies to cult classics and documentaries on the fully digital projectors, she said.
In the meantime, the theater is still getting fixed up, but the four-screen theater is nearly ready for customers.
One thing that sets the Prospector apart, she said, is how the theater can be used.
“Everything in this building is designed to be as multi-purpose as it possibly can,” Jensen said.
Of the four screens, two include stadium seating with over 100 seats. Another with just under 100 seats has a wide flat area in front of the screen that Jensen said might be used for corporate or personal events. The fourth is a small 16-seater that could be used for late-run movies or early screenings.
But, she said, “I wanted this to have the old, classic, romantic feel.”
Jensen had wanted to preserve the outside façade of the former bank on Prospect Street. When she was unable to save it, she tried to find other ways to incorporate the building's past uses as a bank and a movie theater.
“I wanted to save the façade so bad. That was really the only part left that was historic,” Jensen said. But because of the need for handicap accessibility on both sides of the building, she wasn’t able to achieve that.
To represent the bank that was on the site for 40 years, Jensen and her crew did something a little creative to the ceiling in the theater's café.
“We put 25,000 pennies up there. They’re all heads up and we glued them all ourselves,” Jensen said.
In homage to one of the first movies shown at the theater when it opened in 1939, visitors will see sepia-to-bright-color wallpaper that is actually a scene-by-scene replication of "The Wizard of Oz."
Although no exact date has been set for the opening, Jensen said she would be perfecting her Effie Trinket look for the "Mockingjay" release in late November.
In the coming months, the Prospector Pop-Up shop on Main Street will move to a space across the street from the theater and Ridgefield’s SPHERE will be moving into that space.
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