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Pittsburgh Filmmakers Hopes To Reopen 80-Year-Old Regent Square Theater In Need Of $10K Projector

Maria Scapellato
90.5 WESA

The roughly 80-year-old Regent Square Theater in the East End is showing its age.

The nonprofit theater has been closed since late May due in part to broken projection equipment.

Maggie Sitko, of Edgewood, was among the local residents who attended a community listening session last week to find out what needs to be done in order to reopen the theater.

“We really enjoy the theater,” Sitko said. “We want to understand what the problems are, we would like it to become a community asset again.”  

Sitko has been going to the theater to catch movies since she moved the area 28 years ago.

“You get to see the films you’re not gonna see at Cinemark or the big theaters,” she said. “So it would be sad not to be able to get these movies in this part of the neighborhood.”

Pittsburgh Filmmakers has owned the theater since 1999. CEO Germaine Williams estimated it would take $10,000 just to get the projection equipment up and running again.

“We need to raise some additional dollars to be able to take care of the equipment issues and there are also a set of renovations we’d like to do in the theater as well, so it’s kind of a multi-stage project,” he said.

Germaine said the restrooms need to be renovated, as well as the lobby and the heating and cooling system. He declined to provide an estimate of the total renovation cost. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the theater received a $400,000 grant years ago to renovate the lobby, bathrooms and ventilation system, but Pittsburgh Filmmakers has to raise another $600,000 in order to unlock the grant. 

The hope is for the theater to re-open next month once the projector is fixed. Beyond that, Pittsburgh Filmmakers is gathering input from the community on ways to pay for all of the upgrades to the aging movie house.

Maria Gabriel Scapellato began her radio career at a commercial radio station in Harrisburg in 1985. Later, she moved to WITF 89.5 FM as the local host of All Things Considered, returning to Pittsburgh in 1992, where she has since worked in both radio and television at various Pittsburgh stations as a general assignment reporter. Originally from West Mifflin in the Mon Valley, she studied Journalism at West Virginia University.