With financial help from the community, the Twilight Theatre can show first run movies like "The Last Jedi."
There were lightsaber battles in the Twilight Theatre lobby as young Jedi used the Force and fought evil before the showing of "The Last Jedi" last weekend.
Theatre Manager George Ryan said the kids had a great time and enjoyed seeing him in the lobby dressed up as a Jedi Knight with his own lightsaber.
The Twilight Theatre is able to show "The Last Jedi" on its opening weekend through community donations. In order to get "The Last Jedi" on the weekend it opens, the studio required Twilight to keep the movie for four weekends. Without the community support, it would be impossible for Twilight to get first run movies on the "Break," Ryan said.
Providing financial support for "The Last Jedi" are Aaron Einsel of Aaron's Guns, Chris and Sheryl Christenson and Steve Taylor. There are also corporate sponsors for the theatre including Norman Volz of Volz Oil, Tyree Ag, Gamble Farms and the City of Greensburg.
Some movies are harder than others to get on the Break. Thanks to community donations last year, Twilight had another Star Wars movie on the break and they had to keep it four weeks too.
"The Last Jedi" has been a very popular movie. Ryan said they had 130 on Friday, 140 on Saturday and 160 for the Sunday matinee.
Since the Twilight is the biggest screen between Wichita and Denver, they draw a lot of people from out of town that don't want to travel long distances to see a movie. This last weekend, people from Pratt, Dodge City and Coldwater come in to see the show in the 400 seat theatre.
Patrons can purchase tickets at the door or they can order on-line. About 25 percent of Twilight ticket sales are done on-line. Tickets on-line have a bar code that lets the patron bypass the lobby ticket counter and go straight into the theatre.
A large part of the theatre is run by volunteers but they also have paid workers. Ryan said he had hired four high school students and it was their first paid job. Hiring the students gives them a position of responsibility and gives them a taste of what it means to be an employee. A couple of the students have learned most of the theatre operations and could actually run the theatre by themselves. They could open the theatre and run the projector but for safety, Ryan is always at the theatre to make sure everything runs smoothly.
The theatre also serves as the school auditorium and can be used for organizational meetings. They have a digital projector that was donated by the Christie Company. A new digital projector would have cost $125,000. The system is adaptable so that students and play video games on the big screen and have competitions. They are working on a video game competition. A community theatre is also in the works.
They can host corporate events and private parties and have even hosted a wedding. A church has used the facilities to live-stream an event and are working on doing live-stream for corporate events.
The building was built with cost efficient heating, cooling and LED lighting.
The Twilight tries to keep prices competitive with other theaters. A regular adult ticket is $8 and students are $4. Sunday tickets are $5 for everyone, no matter what age.
There are also adult memberships for $7 a show and youth memberships for $4.
"Our ticket prices are lower than most theaters," Ryan said.
The Twilight shows are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
The website is twilighttheatre.org and has lots of information about the theatre and its other uses. Their Facebook page is their largest source for sharing information.
To provide access to quality, affordable performing arts events, film entertainment, educational opportunities, and other cultural experiences for the positive economic benefit of Kiowa County & the surrounding areas.