Selectmen approve extending drive-in theater in Westport
WESTPORT — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the extension of the Remarkable Theater’s drive-in in the Imperial Avenue parking lot through Oct. 31 after hearing testimony of its successful trial run.
“The drive-in continues to be terrific,” Remarkable Theater President Marina Derman said at a BOS meeting Wednesday. “They’re well attended. People are happy to be there.”
The drive-in theater currently shows two to four screenings each week. Attendees have continued to be respectful of each others’ personal space as well as not leaving trash, according to Derman.
“On all fronts, we’re really thrilled with how it’s going,” she said.
Derman said the benefit of continuing the drive-in theater is two-fold: helping the Remarkable Theater to reach their financial goals and continue collaborative efforts with local organizations.
“We’ve been amazingly overwhelmed in a good way by all the requests from organizations in town — both nonprofits and businesses — to have a night for themselves at the drive-in,” Derman said.
Remarkable Theater will also adjust for the earlier sunset in the fall, she said.
“We’ve adjusted our movie start times twice now and we’ll probable do it again shortly,” Derman said.
The Selectmen showed support for the drive-in theater and asked attendance level as well as how the effort has helped prepare the group in their effort to bring a movie theater to town.
Doug Tirola, Remarkable Theater’s creative director, said on a sell-out night, the theater sees more than 200 people.
“I think you’ve really hit on a need that the town has for a movie theater that we’ve been talking about for so long and I hope this has been a very helpful experience for you guys because it’s been so helpful for the town,” Selectwoman Melissa Kane said.
Said Tirola, “Hopefully by the end of the season, we’ll have a great number — whether they’re Westporters or (from) the surrounding area (who) have come so far.”
With the early success of the drive-in theater, there are also considerations for bringing it back next year, he said. The continued success of the drive-in theater could also help the Remarkable Theater start a more serious campaign for bringing a brick and mortar theater to town.
“I think we’re headed for it,” Tirola said. “The longer we go, the better chance we have.”