It's been nearly a year since the Soo Theatre closed its doors for the final time. Since then, the discussion hasn't stopped about how to bring the big screen back to the Opportunity City.
There are many options for the city to consider. It's no secret the current building where the Soo Theatre once operated needs some upgrades. There have been talks between the city and interested individuals as well as companies considering bringing the movie magic back to Weyburn.
"There's been some interest, definitely. We've had both individuals, organizations and other investors looking at the movie theater," said Twila Walkeden, executive director of Weyburn Regional Economic Development. "There has been some interest, I'm just not sure on the level of interest they've received."
Walkeden and City Council will meet at the end of November to discuss ideas and review other centers that have been successful in similar situations.
"We've done some homework. we know what other communities are doing or have done in terms of responding to their movie theater closing. It's important for us to understand what worked in other communities and how communities really have come together. Many different instances where community organizations have taken over a theater and ran it as a non-profit," she noted. "There's been some really great success stories of smaller communities opening their theater Friday to Sunday and still attracting new releases and still having a really great community atmosphere. Hopefully, we can find something that works for everyone."
The lack of a movie theatre has definitely been felt in the city. Folks are now forced to travel to either Estevan or Regina to watch the latest releases of their favourite flicks or be patient enough to wait for it come on Netflix. Walkeden says a new theatre would not only be beneficial for the Weyburn economy, but it would also improve the quality of life.
"We are really noticing a difference. In particular the young demographic, the high school kids, I know they've indicated to City Council that they really think there's an importance for Weyburn to have a movie theatre," she explained. "It's in our best interest to keep people in Weyburn. We don't want folks to go to Estevan or Regina to watch a movie. Weyburn Economic Development works really hard behind the scenes to make Weyburn a great place to live. When we're trying to get people to come here and invest and take new jobs, amenities like a movie theater are so important for quality of life. So, it's definitely on our radar."
The owners of the old Soo Theatre have expressed interest in helping the transition be a smooth one for the new owners of a theatre in town. Weyburn Regional Economic Development and the City of Weyburn will continue to investigate and weigh all their options. Hopefully, it's sooner, rather than later before Weyburn is given a second chance at a movie theatre.