It’s official, say members of the Arts Council of Thayer County (ACT). The Majestic Theatre will be closing its doors and reopening as a new entity. “The new Majestic will be managed and operated by ACT,” says council member Deb Cossaart. “It will be updated with digital equipment for sharper images, better quality and newer movies. In the future, ACT also hopes to host concerts, plays, student activities and events aimed toward the entertainment and inspiration of county residents and visitors.”
ACT members are county residents who are excited to explore the possibilities that the theater can bring to help make the vision into a reality, Cossaart said. Currently the group is underway to establish organization as a non-profit entity before taking over management of the business. “The anticipated date for reopening is Feb. 1,” she added.
ACT member Crystal Fangmeier said the transition is taking place so quickly due to the support of several individuals. “Carla Gebers, (current Majestic owner) is helping the group learn the ropes of the theater business,” Fangmeier said, “and Lois (Struve) Pederson (Struve Enterprises) has also been very helpful in providing for a smooth and quick transfer of the building to the Thayer County Arts Council.”
The group does anticipate that the theater will shut down prior to ACT assuming management to allow for some maintenance such as fixing the roof, painting and other “chores” facing the group. Until then, Gebers will continue to operate the business and teach ACT members the do’s and don’t’s of running a theater.
“This is rural entrepreneurism in action,” says TCEDA (Thayer County Economic Development Association) interim director Deb Craig. “Arts Council members who are learning about the details of starting and running a business, obtaining nonprofit status, and the challenges of finding volunteers, publicity and funds. This is a project that is building a new group of volunteers and leaders, which is vital to building an entrepreneurial community.”
Cossaart says that while the group’s volunteers are successfully bringing together all the pieces to the puzzle, funding remains at the top of the list. “We need to raise $60,000 for the digital upgrade,” she said. “We’ve already made progress toward that goal; $16,000 has been raised in the past week, but we are still asking for assistance from our communities.”
For more information on how you can help or if you are interested in making a donation, Cossaart said, contact ACT at email@example.com or call 402-440-5975. Also, anyone wishing to make a donation can make their check to the Bruning Community Foundation, note in the memo line that it is for ACT/Majestic Fund and take it to any county bank or mail it to Bruning Bank, PO Box 100, Bruning, NE, 68322.
“You can help maintain a true American art form in rural Nebraska,” she said. “Let’s keep film and performing arts alive in Thayer County.”