PI District Library in full swing operating the Rogers City Theater

ROGERS CITY – The Rogers City Theater is fully operating under the ownership and management of the Presque Isle District Library. Recently hired Theater Manager Nicholas Payne is responsible for the operations and management as well as the library’s liaison with the Community Theater. Karl Heidemann continues to manage the theater concessions throughout the year and the Super Scoop Ice Cream during the summer months.

“It’s been a long transition, but I feel we have been working together to have things run as smoothly as they can,” said Library Director Amber Clement. “I am just completing a multitude of licensing contracts on behalf of the library with major motion picture companies and it is quite a process.

“We have been working on some maintenance issues at the theater as well. The library now manages the website for the Rogers City Theater,” Clement also said.

The website, www.rogerscitytheater.com lists the upcoming films as well as what’s currently playing at the theater. There is a link to the theater off of the library’s website at www.pidl.org.

Determining and selecting which first-run films to screen at the theater requires extensive behind the scenes work. The theater manager negotiates directly with a broker to get the first-run films here at the theater.

“Although many of the films had wide-release nationally weeks ago, we are not able to acquire the films to screen until it is feasible, due to the fact that we are a single screen movie theater in a rural community with a small population,” Clement said. “We select the films based on professional reviews, availability, genre and the potential to generate an income to offset expenses.”

The library is a not for profit entity. There are only two public libraries in the state that own and operate a local movie theater. Harbor Beach Area District Library in Harbor Beach has owned and operated their local movie theater for nearly two decades.

The library management plans on continuing to provide quality programming at the theater.

“Fortunately for a community of our size we have an active local community theater group. The Rogers City Community Theatre rents space at the theater,” said Clement. “If it wasn’t for them, there is no way this theater could remain open. The community is lucky to have such an awesome group that puts on five to six theatre productions a year, all with volunteers. They put a lot of work into their plays which require extensive set design, construction build out and rehearsal time for performers.”

This leads into how the theater is scheduled. It is a fine balance between scheduling live theatre productions, set construction, rehearsals for performers, first-run movies, special events and general library programming. These include regional musical artists, guest performances, featured authors, special events and film festivals.

The Rogers City Theater is the only movie theater and professional stage performance venue in Presque Isle County. Professional guest musicians from across the state have performed at the Rogers City Theater and many comment on how outstanding the acoustics are in-house as well as how fortunate the community is to retain the beauty of an authentic historic theater.

One of the opportunities for the District library is to screen DVDs of classic films and other films during film festivals and themed events which fall under a special licensing agreement. These films are shown to the general public free of charge. It is another way to enable the public to enjoy the theater experience – for free.

It is the goal of the district library to provide the theater to the community. Once again, the theater is the home stage for Christmas concerts and special holiday featured films. In addition, the theater is available to the public and to community organizations for special events and private screenings.