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Keysville Man Renovates Old Family Theatre

THE NEW THEATRE.jpg

Keysville, VA - It was once the place to be in downtown Keysville. In the center of downtown, 'The New' theatre was the entertainment mecca of the town.

"It was kind of a family affair. Small town America" said Clark.

The man in the picture is Russell Clark's father - who opened the theatre with his father in 1937. "At age six I was taking up tickets at the inside of the door" said Clark.

Back then, tickets were 35 cents for adults and 20 cents for children. "And there was a center aisle and the screen was way down there" said Clark.

It wasn't hard for the Clarks to fill the theatre, especially on Saturday nights. Clark says the line was out the door when 'Gone with the Wind' premiered.

"You had to wait two or three days to get in to see that" said Clark.

But as time went on, things changed and fewer and fewer people were coming. "In the early 50's everybody bought a TV... theatres in small towns just started closing" said Clark.

'The New' had come to an end. But now, nearly 60 years later, Clark is bringing the old theatre back to life. 'Most of them don't know what I am going to do with it exactly" said Clark.

Clark says so far he has plans to use it as a dance and production studio, but he says the possibilities are endless. "There will be a way to fill that screen again, I promise" said Clark.

Clark hopes to have the dance studio portion of the theatre open by January. He also has plans to occasionally show old vintage films.

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