Entertainment Venues Recover from the Pandemic

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- ‘The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant’ can compensate venues like theaters up to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue.

The application process started Monday.

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The pandemic cost the Tivoli Theatre more than $10 million.

“These are expensive buildings” said Executive Director of The Tivoli Theatre, Nick Wilkinson. “Every month we spend upwards of a 100 thousand dollars. Some months on basic maintenance, basic capital improvements. Basic things to keep the buildings from deteriorating.”

“It’s been a long time waiting” said Director of the Chattanooga Theatre Centre Rodney  Van Valkenburg. “I actually knew about this grant a year ago.”

Vulkenberg was determined to get his application in.

Grants are first come, first serve.

“Because of covid and the pandemic, performing arts venues like the Chattanooga Theatre Centre are some of the most hardest-hit organizations and businesses in the country” said Valkenburg.

Both theaters operate at a small capacity and will continue to require precautions like masks at this time.

The Tivoli recently started hosting private showings of the latest movie releases.

“How are venues going to be able to compete with streaming platforms going forward” asked news 12’s Winston Reed.

“Half the joy of being part of a community experience with people from all walks of life” said Wilkinson.

“If a movie was dropping Friday and you wanted to see it would you watch it from a streaming platform or your local theater” said News 12’s Winston Reed.

“Streaming platform” said one bystander. “It’s more convenient and I don’t have to spend as much money on the snacks.”

“I would choose the local theater because it’s definitely a different experience than streaming it” said one bystander.

“I agree with that. I would rather be in a theater and see the big screen” said one bystander.

“I always think that there is a human need to be together and watch something” said Valkenburg. “It’s so much different to watching a play with a audience full of people laughing and having that shared experience. That’s what makes it unique.”