2019 proposed a good opportunity to offer classic and family friendly movies in different avenues. The grant money from Vision 2040 allowed for the New London Little Theatre to try new and fun events with the community.
In January, February and March of 2019, one classic movie was played once a month on Sundays. The attendance at these showings was at least ten people.
When summer grew near, the direction changed to family friendly kid’s movies for the months of May, June and July. The greatest attendance was in July during the New London Water Days when Paddington was shown. About 100 people attended prior to the fireworks display! Another notable event in July was a 2-day Classic Comedy Film Fest curated by Deb Mortenson and Jais Lacktorin on July 13-14. About 22 people attended and joined in on the 17 hours of programming over the two day period.
In the fall, with the change in Little Theatre board members and leadership, the Rialto Revisited film series became a mainstay while plans were being made to revitalize the Little Theatre as an independent art space. Also, in October, the Little Theatre hosted the 2nd annual Haunted House with movies playing while people waited to go through the haunted forest and spooky basement.
The ripples are starting out small and growing. People are becoming more connected to the community of New London, by laughing together and talking with neighbors after the show. Board members have witnessed people bring their elderly neighbor into the movies, as a way to get them interested and involved in doing something different than staying home alone.
These events at Little Theatre are bringing new people and business to the area. One attendee, a woman from Minneapolis, shared that the event was reasonably priced, very enjoyable films, and the concessions were inexpensive. Since she was attending the film fest, she stayed in the Willmar Lakes Area and enjoyed the local offerings.
The Little Theatre had two movies each Sunday in January and February 2020. However, due to other music, play and other programming in March, April and May, we will have to put Rialto Revisited on a small hiatus and continue Rialto Revisited in June.
New London Roaming Cinema is coordinating the efforts by curating public domain films (with no licensing fees), volunteering time at the theatre. By having these free movies with a suggested donation, we are able to list the movies in the Lakes Area Review and West Central Tribune for no cost.
Thank you to all the volunteers for the Rialto Revisited that make the magic happen from the curator of the New London Roaming Cinema, Deb Mortenson, to the curating films collaborator Jais Lacktorin and all those in between. These great events at the Little Theatre continue to be a staple in the New London and surrounding areas community because of their hard work and volunteer hours.
Willmar Lakes Area Vision 2040 is a grassroots movement in Kandiyohi County to make our communities better than they were yesterday. Our mission is to support the dreamers and the doers in Kandiyohi County. We strive to create a better tomorrow through supporting projects that are community minded with special emphasis on the four focus areas; Health & Wellness, Communication, Inclusion and Engagement.
Vision 2040 is a collaborative, community-led and driven initiative composed of your neighbors, friends and coworkers.