Summer 2018 Summary
Friends of the Fishers Island Theater
October 15, 2018
Mixing it up, FFIT’s theme for 2018!
The Fishers Island Community Theater had another terrific summer season. The theater opened in time to host the Fishers Island School graduation, which is usually held in the school gym. Many in our community came together to loan flowering plants and decorative trees, run the lighting, adorn the stage with bunting and lay down a red carpet for the graduates. Having graduation at the theater was a wonderful change and was thoroughly enjoyed by students, teachers and parents alike. It was festive and grand and felt more formal and celebratory than the usual gym setting. With the students’ talents on display and Henry McCance as the keynote speaker, we heard accolades about the Theater for weeks and weeks.
Early in the summer, the theater was also the venue for a memorial service for Charlie Ferguson, the revered artist and life-long Fishers Island resident who was beloved by all. Again the theater was a perfect setting. It was large enough to hold the large crowd and our projector and technology beautifully presented the slideshow of Charlie’s artwork. We were honored the Fergusons asked to use the theater for their family tribute.
Moving on to our summer programming, we showed three movies a week, which were a mix of new releases, classic films, and documentaries. We attracted a wide audience and a more varying age demographic, which achieved our overall goal of broader community outreach. In addition, our incredible volunteer group pulled together several special events that were well attended and festive. 5 Seasons, a documentary film about the career and work of landscape designer Piet Oudolf who is best known for his work on the Highline in New York drew a large, enthusiastic crowd as did a special showing of Iris a documentary film about style icon Iris Apfel by Fishers Island’s own Albert Maysles who passed away in 2015 and is best known for his film Gray Gardens. The director of 5 Seasons Tom Piper fielded questions about his film and working with Ouldolf while Rebekah Maysles Albert’s daughter and director of the Maysles Foundation in New York talked about the making of Iris, working with her father and the future of family’s film foundation. Lastly, a special showing of Fishers Islanders Kevin and Pierce Rafferty’s film Atomic Café about the beginnings of the era of nuclear warfare drew another large-spirited crowd.
Much of our success this summer was the result of hiring Mere Doyen as our full-time Theater manager. She brought in varied movie selections and we dropped the admission prices to either $5 for first-run films (down from $10) or free. This seemed to strike a positive chord with our audience and we often collected more money in a donation jar than we would have by charging for admission. Our volunteer committee works tirelessly every year to make our theater a success and the summer of 2018 was no exception.
This past summer our theater attracted a broader audience and the community had the opportunity to see the theater being used for larger and more diverse events other than just movies and entertainment. As a result, we feel we have a tremendous wave of forward momentum in achieving our goals of restoring the theater into a versatile community venue.
Photo Credit to Jane Ahrens, Ann Anthony and more.
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