Report by Paula Antolini, March 30, 2021, 6:35PM EDT
‘Choose safety now, with the promise of sparklier tomorrows’
An announcement was made by Val Jensen, the founder of Ridgefield’s Prospector Theater, about two tough decisions: that she will close the theater located at 25 Prospect Street, in Ridgefield, CT, on April 5th and end the plans to open a second theater in Wilton.
The statement read as follows:
“You have made moviegoing safe and sparkly for audiences since reopening on June 17, 2020. I am proud of how The Prospector Theater has been a shelter from the storm: as meaningful competitive work for adults with disabilities, for moviegoers who came to support our mission, and an escape from reality one movie at a time.
“I have made the decision to temporarily close our doors, starting on Monday, April 5, 2021. COVID cases are on the rise again and Ridgefield has seen a spike in cases. The Prospector Theater has taken the extraordinary step to choose safety now, with the promise of sparklier tomorrows.
“The movie theater industry is in crisis. Our largest trade organization, The National Association of Theater Owners, has warned that 75% of independent movie theaters will be insolvent within the next month. The two biggest movies we were expecting to show on the big screen, Black Widow and Cruella, would be released on Disney+ the same day as they opened in theaters. Without new content, and with COVID cases on the rise, the smartest and most strategic move was to press the giant pause button, and close our doors.
“Vaccinations are becoming more available, and when the time is right, the Prospector Theater will have the grandest and sparkliest of reopenings. Unlike some of the characters in our favorite movies, we don’t have a crystal ball. We are not sure when reopening will happen. The best I can promise is, we will reopen when the time is right.
“Over the past year, Prospects have been up-skilled in technology and Zoom rooms. Prospects will continue to create content at home, earning paychecks, while we wait until it’s safe to go back in the water.
“Streaming has always been our biggest competitor. In the past 12 months, we have travelled light years into the future and today streaming is more like white water rapids! It is because of this changing landscape that The Prospector Theater decided to negotiate an agreement to end our plans to open a second theater in Wilton. There are many exciting new opportunities available to us and our good work is needed well beyond Fairfield County. Millions more Americans with disabilities have become unemployed, and millions more people, suffering from the devastating effects of “long-haul” COVID have found themselves disabled – some for the first time in their lives. The Prospector can refocus our efforts on the areas of greatest need to fulfill our mission of including adults with disabilities in the workforce.
“We look forward to welcoming you back to the movies when the time is right. And when we safely arrive in a post-COVID world, somewhere over the rainbow, we will have a big grand reopening party at the Prospector Theater, and we will know the dreams that we dare to dream really do come true.
Thank you for your support. Stay Safe. Sparkle On!
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