Frequently Asked Questions
1.) Why do you want to save that old building?
The Columbia Theatre is a landmark building in our community with outstanding architectural value as well as operational value for the Paducah Art House Alliance (d/b/a Maiden Alley Cinema). It also provides a revitalization key for future growth and viability of Paducah’s historic downtown. The theatre’s location is paramount to the vitality of our historic district and will play a major role in bringing life back to the 500 block of Broadway.
2.) What are you going to use it for?
The basic plan for the theatre will be as an art house directed by the Paducah Art House Alliance (d/b/a Maiden Alley Cinema), a venue for foreign/independent film, educational activities/workshops, live performances, lectures, special events and rental space. The theatre will be expanded to include 3 venues with spaces offering a capacity of 280 on the ground floor to a twinned balcony housing 2 cinemas with 120 seats each. This will offer availability for a much broader scope of available independent/first run films, touring musical acts and private rentals.
3.) What is the difference between the Paducah Film Society, Paducah Art House Alliance (PAHA) and Maiden Alley Cinema?
The Paducah Film Society began screening films once a month in 1991. After 10 years of being an active non-profit, the need for a permanent space was necessary and a capital campaign was forged. In 2001, Maiden Alley Cinema became the home of the Paducah Film Society. In 2015, the Paducah Film Society transitioned into the Paducah Art House Alliance, which is the governing board of the Columbia Theatre Restoration Project and oversees the Maiden Alley Cinema Advisory Board. Upon the opening of the Columbia Theatre, PAHA will oversee the Columbia Theatre Advisory Board as well. This project will allow for an extension of the current programming model of Maiden Alley Cinema drawing on the ideals and mission of the art house model.
4.) Who is going to own and operate the theatre?
The theatre is currently owned by the Paducah Art House Alliance and will remain in their possession throughout the duration of the project.
5.) How could a movie theater exist with competition such as Cinemark?
There are many misconceptions about the idea of a movie theater and an art house. The Paducah Film Society opened MAC as an independent cinematic art house showcasing independent/foreign films. Since its beginnings, the programming model has expanded and adjusted to fit the needs of the region. This trend would continue with expansion to the Columbia Theater. The programming limits of having only one screen cannot be overstated. Additional screens would increase revenue by 40% minimum because it would allow for multiple films to be screened simultaneously and give PAHA a market edge in acquiring the bigger films. In addition, private rentals are an option when working with a LOCALLY owned and operated organization. It is not a corporate entity, but an arts venue that can work with community partners in programming. The potential to create programming that has an impact is unlimited. Live music events, which have seen great success at Maiden Alley Cinema, would be an integral part of the programming model. Operating a state of the art music venue will draw from an even broader range of musical acts.
6.) Why do we need another theatre in Paducah?
The Maiden Alley Cinema is a small venue which is incapable of scheduling certain activities due to a shared use space occupied by the River Discovery Center and Seamen’s Church Institute during daytime hours. The programming model that has become standard operating procedure for Maiden Alley Cinema over the past 15 years has outgrown its current location. Paducah’s geographic location is perfect for a mid-sized theatre to, not only showcase films and filmmaking educational activities and programming but also to attract performers who require a specific theatre size with particular acoustics. A historic theater offers a space that is not only sought out by patrons simply for the scheduled entertainment provided, but also by artist and performers due to the experience created in the atmosphere.
7.) Will it hurt or compete with other arts venues?
Each Paducah arts venue is unique in its mission and audience size. This project is aiding in the expansion of one that currently exists (Maiden Alley Cinema) thereby building on the success of a proven model. The Columbia will utilize programming that is not in direct competition with any other venue as the plan will use film as an anchor. For programming such as live music, the Columbia will draw acts that do not currently have an appropriate venue in the area. This offers the potential to reach a broad audience from the region and beyond.