Ponoka’s Capitol Theatre celebrates grand reopening with ribbon cutting

L-R: Trevor Cromartie, Mayor Kevin Ferguson, and Rizwan Syed cut the ribbon for the grand reopening on Jan. 20. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)L-R: Trevor Cromartie, Mayor Kevin Ferguson, and Rizwan Syed cut the ribbon for the grand reopening on Jan. 20. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

After a nearly two-year hiatus, the new owners of Ponoka’s Capitol Theatre are opening the doors for the official grand reopening tonight, Jan. 20.

“We are truly grateful to be a part of this growing community and look forward to the support of the community in return,” the owners said in a statement shared by the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce.

The grand opening started with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. with Mayor Kevin Ferguson and co-owners Trevor Cromartie and Rizwan Syed, followed by a tour of the theatre.

Other attendees were town councillor Ted Dillon and general manager of corporate services for the town, Angie Schumacher.

Syed said he’s lived in Ponoka for eight years and found that Ponoka has always lacked entertainment opportunities.

Since purchasing the theatre from the previous owners (who operated the theatre up until COVID-19 shutdown businesses in March 2020) the partners have completed extensive renovations.

READ MORE: Capitol Theatre remaining closed indefinitely

The improvements are not just eye-catching — such as vintage style roof tiles in the hallway or imported tiles from Turkey at the front concession, and LED lights under the counterparts and floor — but make the theatre, clean, neat and safe, said the owners.

For example, 11 new fire extinguishers were installed as well as new exit signs and old, dusty curtains were removed. The theatre is also fully insured.

Seats are cleaned and sanitized after every showing and the building is cleaned every day.

“Safety is a priority,” said Syed.

The theatre now has better temperature control with an updated air conditioning system and some technology upgrades were made as well.

The outside sign advertising movie times was upgraded to include LED lights controlled via cellphone to display different colours as desired and the movie screens can display presentations or videos from a phone via wifi or from a flash drive.

The theatre held a soft owner on Dec. 1, 2021.

Before the grand reopening, the partners decided to lower the admission and concession prices.

As it is with any theatre, admission prices generally just cover overhead costs, and profit mostly comes from the concession, they said. So they lowered admission prices to allow more people to enjoy a movie — with their family, for a special occasion, or just because.

In order to be able to open the concession, the theatre must follow the Restriction Exemption Program.

Patrons will need to follow COVID-19 protocols such as wearing masks indoors and sitting two metres apart from other groups in the theatre. Masks can be removed once parties are seated.

Cromartie and Syed are working partners of Your Dollar Store With More and now the Capitol Theatre.

Cromartie lives in Ponoka with his wife Julianne, and children. Syed is a well-known real estate agent who also lives in Ponoka with his wife.

The Capitol Theatre was built in 1949 by Hec Labrie on the site of a house and millinery shop, according to the commemorative plaque outside the building.

Show times are now 6:30 and 7 p.m. each night, as well as a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sundays. For movie information and other updates, check them out on their Facebook page, @capitoltheatreponoka.