Monday Matinees, one of the OGT’s signature events, are free this month while the theater transitions back to full service. To restrict audience size for safety reasons, the event requires in-person pre-registration (though I showed up this morning at the last minute and was able to snag an extra ticket). Classic movies are being screened at 10 and 1 each Monday (versus the pre-covid one screening) to enable more people to attend.
Today’s film was Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, which I enjoyed more than I’d even imagined I would – on that gorgeous big screen! Streaming films to our home screens and laptops is no substitute for the theater experience – and I bet everyone in the audience had that same reaction.
Most seats are X’d in order to keep patrons socially distant.
Caitlin welcomed a happy, cheering audience back to the theater.
The Road to Reopening
Our beloved historic Old Greenbelt Theatre, like theaters everywhere, had to close completely in March of 2020 and what a sad announcement it was to read. I can only imagine how sad it was to write. From WUSA9: “‘Up until March 13, we had never closed,’ Caitlin McGrath, the executive director for the theatre, said. ‘Three hundred and sixty five days a year for almost five and a half years.’”
During the shutdown the staff did innovate two opportunities to see film on a big screen. One was a co-venture with the Greenbelt Recreation Department – Moonlit Movies screened on Braden Field, with carefully spaced circles for families and covid-pod members. There have been 27 events over the past year, with four more planned for this month. I attended the “Ferris Bueller” event and it was a lot of fun.
OGT was also available for private rentals for up to just NINE people! I’d love to know more about those events.
And for customers who missed their concession-stand favorites, the theatre offered take-out service.
But it’s summer of ’21 and the OGT is coming back! There’s news on the website:
In mid-June, we began our reopening process with a series of strategic test screenings. These show audiences are slightly larger than our current rental groups, and are allowing us to fine-tune our safety protocols and cleaning procedures.
With Monday Matinees having returned this month, what’s next?:
By August we plan to bring back recent releases. Our current plan is to offer movies three days per week (Friday, Saturday, Sunday); this schedule may be expanded. By September, we hope to fully reopen with movies seven days a week!
A heartfelt “Congratulations!” to the OGT team for surviving the greatest challenge to movie theaters in movie theater history. And thank you!
NOTE: By contributing these pandemic stories, photos, et cetera, Greenbelters are making an unconditional donation of the material to the nonprofit Greenbelt Online.org and the Greenbelt Museum/City of Greenbelt, which reserve the right to keep, lend, or otherwise dispose of the donated material, and may use the material on our website, for social media or other postings, in promotional materials or in future exhibits.