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Second Feature

After 45 years of silence, there are signs of life at the Novato Theater.



FOR THE PAST 70 years, there’s been a movie theater in downtown Novato, but for the past 45 years it has been shuttered tight. Now a group of civic activists is determined to reopen the doors of the Novato Theater. “Working Together — Getting It Done” is the battle cry of hundreds of local residents and dozens of nearby businesspeople who feel Marin’s secondlargest city needs a vibrant cultural center in its downtown. First opened in 1946, the Novato Theater has screened such cinema hits as The Best Years of Our Lives, Giant, A Star Is Born, Jaws, Star Wars and Annie Hall. But in 1991 the lure of multiplexes took its toll as the single-screen emporium proved too big to fill up and too small to cut in half and was closed down. “In reopening, we envision being a movie theater — and more,” says the group’s executive director, Christina Stroeh. In addition to a regular schedule of films, Stroeh says, there will be “live music, comedy, speakers, authors and dance programs.” When reopened, hopefully in spring 2017, the refurbished Novato Theater will have 235 seats in the main theater plus 50 in a studio space, a small stage and first-rate refreshments. Of the $3 million goal, nearly $2 million for the theater’s reopening has already been raised. For further information go to novatotheater.net.

Photo courtesy of Novato History Museum.

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