Tulsa's Circle Cinema Restoration Back On Track

Tuesday, March 24th 2009, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa's Circle Cinema is going strong at age 81 and there are plans to finish restoring the old movie house to its original glory.

The project will give the Circle more screens, more seating and give it the opportunity to attract more people.

When it opened in 1928, the Circle was Tulsa's first suburban movie theater. Now it's the only theater close to downtown.

Some of the board members got together to premiere a new fundraising campaign to complete the project that began a few years back.

Stephanie LaFevers is the executive director of the foundation that operates the Circle Cinema.

Five years ago the whole project was just beginning, and this is a more extensive renovation than they planned.

The original cinema had one screen and about 600 seats.

The new design will have back-to-back theaters in the same space. It'll increase capacity and Clark Wiens, the Circle Cinema board chair, says the number of people discovering the Circle is increasing.

"We have probably had over 35,000 maybe 40,000 last year," said Wiens.

Adding a couple of screens will permit them to attract more films and keep them longer, better to support the Circle's mission of community consciousness through film.

The area they call the quad is used for community meetings and for the handful of foreign language film clubs that meet and watch movies there.

"This thing is used almost every night now. We do a lot of free events," said Wiens.

The fundraising campaign will bring the historic movie house full circle.

The Circle plans to bury a time capsule in the floor of the newly completed theater. They are soliciting suggestions about what to put in it. The capsule will be opened in 2028 when the Circle is 100-years-old.