Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fox Theatre Institute Offers Funds, Expertise to Restore Brunswick's Beloved Ritz Theatre

/PRNewswire/ -- Throughout the nation, once-cherished community treasures are feeling the effects of neglect and bleak economic conditions. However, as purse strings tighten, communities are coming together to reach into their own pockets and salvage grand historical theatres. In Georgia, one organization (http://bit.ly/FTI_kit) is making a difference and jumpstarting revitalization. The Fox Theatre Institute partners with historic theatres to restore, educate and strengthen community ties.

Recently, the Fox Theatre Institute completed its latest project: a partnership with the Ritz Theatre in Brunswick, Georgia. Built in 1899, the Ritz Theatre has a rich history. Once an Opera House and Art Deco movie palace, the theatre fell into decline through the 1970s but has since returned to a live community performance space.

On its way to reclaiming its vibrancy, the theatre set sights on restoring its 58 original windows and painting its exterior. Because of natural deterioration and proximity to the Inter-coastal Water Way, the historic elements began to fail. In April 2009, the Fox Theatre Institute assisted the Ritz Theatre in streamlining the restoration process, securing funds and providing theatre-to-theatre mentoring.

To stimulate economic development, skilled local craftsmen conducted the repair work. Through extensive ratings systems and detailed analysis, experts selected the appropriate processes and local materials to source the project, completed in August 2010.

"Brunswick has demonstrated a significant commitment to its community," said Fox Theatre Institute Director of Restoration, Molly Fortune. "The Fox Theatre Institute is thrilled to match the city's investment and play a role in restoring such a historical landmark."

The Ritz Theatre continues to play a vital role in the economic stability of downtown Brunswick's Old Towne Historic District, and the Fox Theatre Institute supports the local theatre as an epicenter of development. The Ritz Theatre has a story to tell, and with the expert hands of the Fox Theatre Institute, the community pillar will live to tell even more stories over the next 100 years.

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