Nonprofit Movie Palace Will Welcome Back Audiences on the
One-Year Anniversary of its COVID Shutdown
TAMPA, Fla. (February 22, 2020) – On Thursday, March 11, Tampa Theatre will reopen to the public and welcome back audiences for 12 screenings of the new Anthony Hopkins drama The Father. The date is significant: it marks one year to the day that the majestic movie palace hosted its final film before closing in the face of the global pandemic.
Fans of the grand cinema will notice a few changes when they return next month: Movie tickets must be purchased online instead of at the Box Office. Temperature checks and masks will be required for entry. The 1,200-seat auditorium will limit capacity to 200 patrons per screening, and elasticized bands around certain chairs will guide guests to socially distanced seating options. Instead of waiting in line in the lobby for snacks, patrons will use the new Noble Concessions App to order from their seats, and will receive a notification when the order is ready to pick up.
Despite the necessary safety modifications, though, that unforgettable Tampa Theatre Experience remains the same, including the triumphant return of the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ pre-show! Nationally renowned theatre organist Steven Ball has accepted an Artist in Residence position at Tampa Theatre and will be showing off the 96-year-old instrument before each screening. Fans will recognize Ball from dozens of silent film presentations over the past decade, and – more recently – two “live-streamed silents” last year. He has recently relocated from St. Louis to Tampa, and looks forward to becoming a more permanent fixture for both artistic and educational programming at the Theatre.
As excited as the Tampa Theatre Team is to make this announcement, Theatre President & CEO John Bell cautions fans not to expect a return to the packed pre-pandemic schedule – more than 700 show times a year – right away. “Nobody has wanted to get this building back open more than we have,” Bell says. “We are cautiously optimistic that the time is right, but The Father will be our test balloon to see whether our audiences are ready to come back. What we see over these two weekends will determine what we do next.”
Bell says that in addition to public film screenings, the Theatre will focus on booking small private events and screenings, tours and portrait sessions through the spring and summer. But, he speculates, it may likely be spring of 2022 before Tampa Theatre sees a return to the type of sold-out live shows and lectures that made 2018 and 2019 record-breaking years for the nonprofit Theatre.
“Since 1926, Tampa Theatre has survived The Great Depression, World War II… and all seven Police Academy movies,” Bell often jokes. “Soon, we’ll be adding ‘a global pandemic’ to that list. And with our 100th anniversary right around the corner, we’re looking forward to getting back to business as usual, and setting up this amazing landmark for its second century.”
ABOUT THE FATHER: Anthony (Academy Award-Winner Anthony Hopkins) is 80, mischievous, living defiantly alone and rejecting the caretakers that his daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman, Netflix’s The Crown), encouragingly introduces. Yet, finding help is becoming a necessity for Anne; she can’t make daily visits anymore, and Anthony’s grip on reality is unravelling. As we experience the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can Anthony cling to? And how will Anne cope as she grieves the loss of her father, while he still lives and breathes before her?
Based on his own play by the same name, Florian Zeller’s debut as a feature-film director warmly embraces real life through loving reflection upon the vibrant human condition. Beautifully acted and uncompromisingly poignant in its storytelling, yet surprisingly “sharp and teasingly diabolical” (The Hollywood Reporter), The Father has been nominated for four Golden Globes – including Best Performance by an Actress for Colman and Actor for Hopkins; Best Screenplay for Zeller; and Best Motion Picture – Drama.
Show times are 7:30pm Thursdays and Fridays, March 11, 12, 18 & 19; 4:00 & 7:30pm Saturdays, March 13 and 20; and 3:00 & 6:30pm Sundays, March 14 and 21.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Witecki at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 857-9089
Built in 1926, Tampa Theatre is a passionately protected landmark and one of America’s best-preserved movie palaces. The majestic building is owned by the City of Tampa and operated as a dynamic film and cultural center by the not-for-profit Tampa Theatre Foundation. Programming is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. Tampa Theatre is a proud member of the League of Historic American Theatres and the Art House Convergence.